BI Getting More Social

Ann All

Updated · Apr 28, 2011

I've long thought that business intelligence and social technologies were made for each other. Last January I wrote about BI and mashups, noting mashups not only make it easier for users to work with disparate data but also to share their insights with coworkers.

I cited a blog post by PivotLink CEO Quentin Gallivan in which he predicted that pairing BI with social tools would be one of the top trends of 2010. He wrote:

In the year ahead, a combination of Web 2.0 technologies – including blogs, wikis, Twitter, instant messaging, social networking, and innovative Google gadgets – will become part of the BI delivery mechanism that brings greater context to their experience. Web 2.0 innovations will provide users with the social features lacking in business intelligence systems from years past. With Web 2.0 style collaboration embedded into SaaS BI solutions, the industry will return to its decision-centric roots. … 

Social BI also showed up on many lists of top BI trends for 2011.

In LogiXML's just-published BI survey, 80 percent of the 575 respondents said feedback and collaboration were “very important” or “important” features in BI technology.

In an interview with eCRMGuide, Forrester Research analyst James Kobelius says that while many folks treat social BI as new, adding collaborative capabilities to BI is a trend that's been evolving for quite some time. As I mentioned in my post on mashups, Kobelius says a desire to bring unstructured and semi-structured information from social media sites into the BI environment is driving the trend.

Challenges include deciding which data is actually relevant to business decisions and figuring out how to store the potentially huge volumes of data in a data warehouse, Kobelius says.

While social interfaces remain fairly uncommon in BI today, Kobelius predicts that won't be the case for long. He said:

… There's no clean delineation where traditional BI leaves off and social BI picks up because traditional BI is a moving target. Every couple of years it adds an additional layer of functionality that used to be bells and whistles but now is inherent. I think the social interface in the next year or two will become pretty much standard everywhere. Already, many of the leading tools, such as IBM Cognos, Qlikview, Microsoft PowerPivot, and TIBCO Spotfire, have already incorporated social BI functionality.


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  • Ann All
    Ann All

    Public relations, digital marketing, journalism, copywriting. I have done it all so I am able to communicate any information in a professional manner. Recent work includes creating compelling digital content, and applying SEO strategies to increase website performance. I am a skilled copy editor who can manage budgets and people.

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