Collaborative Business Intelligence for a Competitive Advantage

By Raghunathan Rangarajan , Vice President, Arcplan

Raghunathan Rangarajan , Vice President, Arcplan

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Arcplan is a provider of Business Intelligence, Dashboard, Corporate Performance and Planning software solutions for desktop and mobile use. Founded in 1993, the company has raised $34.1 million from ViewPoint Capital Partners and German bank HypoVereinsbank (HVB).

Most important business decisions have far reaching consequences impacting the company as a whole. Business decisions made in isolation could lead the organization in different directions and may not have a positive impact on the organization. Good business decisions require a holistic approach with interpretation and analysis of data incorporating inputs and interactions from all stake holders across the organization. In addition to this several external factors can also have a bearing on the decisions made. In today’s digital era where tablet devices, social networks and cloud-based applications are common place business tools, a large volume of data is generated every day which is scattered across a wide spectrum, making Collaborative Business Intelligence an essential tool for effective decision making.

This emerging trend has prompted organizationsto increasingly look at collaborative business intelligence (BI) to achieve competitive advantage. In today’s aggressive business environment, Collaborative BI is leading the way to collective decision-making, allowing for greater efficiency, mobility and collaboration. Collaborative Business Intelligence allows users to tap into the wealth of information available in an organization with simple-to-use search functions. Users can comment, rate, tag, and share their findings with colleagues to enhance and accelerate the decision-making process.
A recent study conducted by arcplan revealed that a value-added approach to Business Intelligence can benefit a company in the following ways:

• Data and results of analysis available across the organization can greatly minimize redundant information and help stake holders to arrive at the right decision quickly.
• Organizations can benefit from analytical insights and actionable customer data, generated by their partners, in their decision making process.
• Open communication and decision coordination promotes a unified vision and alignment with business strategies.
• The morale of employees improve when they are involved in the decision making process, resulting in increased efficiency of the organization.

In addition another significant driver of collaborative BI is the substantial cost savings. By integrating widely known and accepted Web 2.0 functions into their BI applications, enterprises can extend the BI users within the company by more than 50 percent in a very short time without incurring additional training costs. Faster and more informed business decisions often translates to competitive advantage and differentiated service offerings in the market.Putting collaborative analytics to work requires the input and commitment from the entire business team in order to be successful. Top performing companies are stepping up their BI game and are already putting these techniques to work.
The demands for agile insight and self-service are changing the landscape of BI, driving the need for Collaborative BI. Though Collaborative BI is not a new concept, it is still considered an emerging practice for business organizations, decisions are made at all levels of an organization, and companies are beginning to realize that knowledge needs to be shared in order to succeed.

Adoption of Collaborative BI is set to intensify as organizations begin to realize the competitive advantage gained from in-built collaborative decision-making modules. Moving forward, we will see collaborative BI get a foothold across industry verticals, with companies looking to extend their user base beyond a small group of power users. It is expected that by 2013 around 20 percent of all BI installations across the world will be Collaborative.

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