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BI in Action

Michael Dortch

Better Business Intelligence Through Better Collaboration, Continued...

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I had a very interesting recent conversation with a Program Director and a Strategist from the Lotus and WebSphere portal group within IBM's software universe. IBM's Lotus and WebSphere portal solutions are popular collaboration tools, and I wanted to discuss collaboration from a strategic point of view, as I blathered about here recently.

IBM basically sees access to so-called "collaborative services" as coming in three "flavors." There are collaboration-specific tools, collaboration features incorporated into other applications, and collaboration as a service. IBM also sees collaboration maturity evolving in stages, from a baseline that includes telephony and e-mail through real-time communications, on-demand access, and "insight and innovations." These latter two stages incorporate portals, mobility solutions, unified communications, embedded collaboration features, and social networks and mash-ups.

IBM's view of collaboration is fairly aligned with mine. Further, I believe that at every stage of collaborative maturity, almost any enterprise can learn useful things about how customers, employees, and partners collaborate. That knowledge can help to improve business processes and increase business intelligence considerably.

(Just as an example, if you knew how many customers, partners, and prospects your company was making P.O.'ed by soliciting e-mail communications, but responding to them slowly, haphazardly, or not at all, you might justify investing in greater integration between inbound e-mail management and, say, the company call center. I've no idea why this particular example leaps to mind during the end-of-year holiday shopping/support-seeking season; just one of those spooky coincidences, I guess...)

In any case, my little chat with IBM, as well as numerous other conversations I've had recently with users and vendors of collaboration solutions, underscores the links connecting collaboration, business processes, and business intelligence. So as we move into 2009's unchartered technological and financial waters, let's all keep an eye out for opportunities to improve collaboration and its management and support, in ways that make us and our businesses smarter, more responsive, and more agile.

Shameless Self-Promotion Department: As a step toward the above goals, please take my Aberdeen Group survey on collaboration at http://www.aberdeen.com/survey/collaboration//collaboration/. You'll get some free research upon completing the survey, and a copy of the report resulting from it. You'll also gain some insights about how your company's collaboration efforts compare to others. All for only 10-15 minutes of your time. Such a deal - call it an early Christmas present, or a timely Chanukah or Kwanzaa gift, depending upon your beliefs and when you take the survey!

1 Comment

SharePoint is the great platform for enterprise document management and collaboration. nSynergy assist here as we specialise in developing and implementing SharePoint 2007– that's all we do. For more information about SharePoint and nSynergy, you can visit http://www.nsynergy.com.

Globalization, shrinking business cycles, and increasing competitive pressures are placing demands on business managers to make faster and better decisions. Managers require both real-time visibility into their business operations and sophisticated analytical tools to help them navigate the increasingly fast paced and complex business environment.

Michael Dortch

Michael Dortch is a veteran information entrepreneur and information technology (IT) industry analyst, consultant, speaker, writer, evangelist and provocateur. He has been striving to empower buyers, sellers and users of IT solutions since 1979. Seriously! ;-)

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more

Madan Sheina

Madan Sheina is principal analyst within Ovum's Software Applications group and is based in Northern California.

Madan has fifteen years' experience working in the IT industry both as an analyst and a journalist. His research covers a range of information management technologies, with a sharp focus on business intelligence, knowledge management and data integration software.

Madan is well respected in the IT industry for his clear, incisive and no-nonsense analysis style. He has advised leading ISVs on market positioning and product development strategy, IT users on product evaluation and selection, and the financial investment community on technology trends. View more


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