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Collaborative Decision Making

1 May 2011
woman thinking

Business intelligence (BI) is a strategically important practice in many organizations. Organizations can improve their business practices and thus their performance, by making decisions based on business analytics. However, the success of BI varies across industries and organizations.The combination of BI and Web 2.0 technologies has given rise to the new concept of Social and Collaborative BI – a type of collaborative decision-making (CDM) platform. This combination improves the quality of decision-making by directly linking the information contained in BI systems with collaborative input through the use of social technologies, anywhere and anytime.


What are the specific contributions to the collaboration of social networks?In his book, James Surowiecki introduced "Wisdom of the Crowds" (2004) some principles that can help companies and organizations improve decision making and managerial effectiveness. He argued that the collective intelligence of the crowd or group is usually better than that of an individual. The wisdom of the crowd can help to solve three types of problems: cognition problems (problem with definitive solutions); coordination problems (people try to coordinate their behavior on an individual matter knowing other people will do the same), and cooperation problems (how people work together).So, what are the requirements must be met for a group to become “wise” and what problems can a “wise” group help solve? Four requirements or conditions must be met before the wisdom of the crowd occurs:Diversity -each member has some private information;Independence - the opinions of those around them do not determine individual opinions;Decentralization- people specialize on local knowledge; and-Aggregation- a way to transform the personal opinions to a collective opinion.


Collaborative BI provides three primary capabilities:Three major functions combine to enable effective collaboration and networking, based on decision-making infrastructure (CDM). These are the ability to:

  1. Discuss and overlay knowledge on business data - A Collaborative BI supports the ability to record comments, share ideas, data, documents, and facilitate discussion on a single uniform platform.

  2.  Share knowledge and content - CDM enables to share data and insights wherever they are required, and in a manner that suits individual circumstance.

  3.  Collectively decide the best course of action - For corporate discussion forums to be successful, they must include a mechanism for determining the action, to help push conversation towards a specific, measurable and desirable course of action.

The demand for Collaborative BI seems clear. Information sharing and discussion allow human insight and understanding to be added to data, making it more meaningful and actionable. Collaboration exposes the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind data, helping us move beyond the simple ‘what’ and onto a deeper level of analysis. Collaborative BI is about connecting the right people with the right data to maximize the effectiveness of data analysis and achieve better decision-making.


The real value of knowledge and information resides in its ability to be shared, and Web 2.0 technologies provide the ability to share intuitively. Popular social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, are designed around the concept of sharing content across networks. Socially, these networks based on friendship groups or topics of interest. In the organizations, business insights can be shared between and across departments to facilitate an understanding of operational factors, and form a basis for strategic planning.

Many organizations see Web 2.0 as the next development in business intelligence and expect it to transform reporting processes in ways that few technologies and methodologies have been able to in the past. Access to, interaction with, and sharing of vast amounts of essential and timely data will be significantly increased, and as a result, the value of combination BI and Web 2.0 technologies can add to the business – will be enhanced considerably.

Reference:Social and Collaborative Business Intelligence delivering ROI

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