Nowadays many companies relay on social media not only for marketing purposes but also to generate and test new ideas, products and services. Collaboration has become a mission critical for organisations. It is not just a nice to have capability any more. In order to successfully launch a new product or service an organisation cannot make decisions based on internal data collected in Line of Business systems alone. They need to take into account the opinions, ideas and perspectives of their internal and external stakeholders. The conversations and collaboration supported by social communities can help create and clarify the context around internally collected information, validate new initiatives and drive decision making.
New technology has provided a platform for easy set-up of collaborative communities where employees, customers, partners and other external stakeholders can work together. However these communities are often disconnected from the actual decision making process. The exercise of setting up the communities and collecting the information is not worthwhile unless there is a simple process to bring that information to the right people in an actionable format. This is the area that the social BI strategy aims to address.
Social Business Intelligence is a new buzz word at the moment. Many BI vendors have already added various social and collaboration oriented functionality to their offerings. However, most organisations do not have a clear context for engaging their users and external stakeholders in social business intelligence. The vendor marketing hypes do not help either. Some offerings in the market space are technically brilliant but too complex and expensive to quickly adopt and put into production. As a result, many organisations look at the current market trends and discussions about social BI and its benefits with a healthy dose of scepticism.
The journey to becoming a social organisation does not need to be a huge undertaking. As always you should start with simple solution and build as you go. Your first foray into becoming a social organisation can be as simple as setting up a process that will ensure the ideas and feedback generated by the collaborative discussions bubble up through the organisation and is matched with the right person or team at the right time. For example, the QlikView approach to social business intelligence is simple and straightforward and provides a solid platform for incremental growth towards becoming a social organisation.
QlikView’s approach to social business intelligence is based on enabling business users to communicate with each other and external stakeholders in real time and asynchronously and to collaboratively surf data, discover business insights and make decisions. Users can engage in threaded conversation about business insights they are sharing, capture snapshots of their data selections and embed them in the conversation thread for future reference. This provides a solid platform for building a collaborative decision making culture in an organisation. From there, organisations can extend the collaborative decision making context by embedding QlikView applications in SharePoint portals and team collaboration sites using QlikView web parts for SharePoint. Business users can then connect their business discovery insights with other relevant content such as documents, wikis, lists, and/or predefined reports generated by traditional BI solutions.
The QlikView social collaboration and decision making offering is different to the many of BI vendors offering where they are simply providing tools to analyse social media data. This is not to say that QlikView does not have capabilities in this area as well. One of QlikTech partners, Industrial CodeBox has built a set of connectors from QlikView to social media data sources like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter . With these connectors the social media data becomes just another data source that QlikView can absorb, link with internal information and present to business users for insight discovery.