BI City

Adopt Collaborative BI, Ditch Information Havoc
By SiliconIndia
Thursday, 31 May 2012, 19:45 IST

Bangalore: A company to have a single budget report filed in many formats with different dashboards and spreadsheets by different people for different purposes is not at all uncommon. Each business unit might make use of a different tool to make a report. Ultimately the business head will want to differentiate between the sales, revenues and the profitability. This usually results in "report-overload".

The generation of several reports with the same intent, but containing different data could result in differing and often-contradictory interpretations. The business executives don’t realize how their staff has to bend over backwards to supply them with the relevant data. This is a hidden cost but an ever expanding one.

What needs to be remembered is that nowadays, it is not just the number crunchers that use information. Everyone from product managers, to call center reps, to the front-line worker in the store needs data to make decisions. Sadly they are unaware of their colleagues who could make use of the same data and might have already formed a useful report.

Thankfully as information, usage is increasing and BI tools are building support for the user community. Collaborative BI tools offer an option of refining and commenting on reports. So a broad audience can utilize a common platform to build and maintain re-usable reports. This means fewer people will expend their energies making reports that are already available, leading to smarter decision making through the exchange of ideas can be made.

Collaborative BI tools employ social networking features to allow people to evolve their thinking in real-time. Embedding the collaboration functionality into reports can contribute a lot to managing decisions. Business heads are no longer in a fix about how to deal with the different interpretations of data. New employees can easily review past conversations instead of going through many spreadsheets or relying on information from colleagues. Executives can also analyze how certain decisions were reached.

The productivity gains through using collaborative BI could help in cost savings and revenues could be increased due to prompt decisions making by the focused group.

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