Key takeaways

  • Collaborative analytics is the process of working together with stakeholders to gather, analyze, and interpret information to make data-driven decisions.
  • Benefits of collaborative analytics include improved data accessibility, cross-functional teamwork, and faster, more accurate team decisions.
  • Data visualization is a key component of social intelligence, helping teams understand complex data and derive meaningful insights through graphical representations.  

Collaborative analytics, also known as social business intelligence, makes it easier to share data within an organization and analyze it in real time. Learn the benefits of collaborative analytics in this comprehensive guide. 


Collaborative analytics: Defined

Analytics play a crucial role in every business operation, enabling organizations to leverage data to drive decision-making, improve overall performance, and gain a competitive advantage. However, traditional analytics focus on a single team or department, resulting in incomplete insights that don’t take into account all data points. 

We have a wealth of data at our fingertips, but making sense of all of it can be a complex and time-consuming endeavor. 

Heads up!
Collaborative analytics is the process of working together with all stakeholders, including data scientists, executives, frontline workers, supply chain and operations teams, and external stakeholders to collectively analyze and interpret data. 

With closer collaboration enabled by social business intelligence software, organizations can achieve shared goals more quickly and teams can share greater peace of mind knowing they have accounted for all inputs. 

Cloud-based collaborative business intelligence tools

A number of software options have arisen to meet the needs of teams looking to bolster remote collaboration in the business intelligence space. Cloud-based tools, in particular, allow teams to access shared data from anywhere and work together in real time, making them highly suitable for remote and distributed teams as well as organizations with flexible work arrangements. 

Microsoft’s Power BI is a powerful data visualization solution that can connect to various data sources, including relational, non-relational, structured, and unstructured data, as well as cloud-based and on-premises resources. 

Other cloud-based BI tools that help organizations analyze and understand their data through interactive visualizations, reports, and dashboards include Tableau and Qlikview

Digital workspaces like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google workspace act as the truly collaborative component of collaborative analytics, providing various services to facilitate communication and productivity within and across organizations. 

Big data technologies such as Apache Hadoop, Spark, and NoSQL databases also play a significant role in collaborative analytics, particularly when dealing with large-scale, complex datasets. These technologies enable businesses to process, store, and analyze massive amounts of data efficiently and effectively. 

For example, Hadoop’s open source, distributed computing framework is designed to store data across multiple nodes and distribute data processing tasks across multiple servers. This allows teams to analyze datasets and foster data-driven decisions and insights more quickly. 

By utilizing these and other available tools, users have the ability to sort and analyze mass data while sharing their insights with other team members anywhere in the world. 

Key components of collaborative analytics

Embedded analytics

Embedded analytics is the integration of data analysis and visualization into applications, providing analytics to a larger range of users. Developers are increasingly adding embedded analytics to business software to make it easier for users to access insights remotely. A common example of embedded analytics is the integration of data visualization and dashboards within a CRM system to help sales teams analyze customer data and identify trends and opportunities. 

Some of the benefits of embedded analytics include:

Contextual insights from integrated analytics tools and dashboards that are embedded directly into an application’s core workflows, resulting in an improved user experience. 

Increased adoption due to a straightforward and intuitive integration into familiar applications. 

Customization of dashboards to fit specific needs within preferred applications. 

Real-time insights as a result of continuous data processing.

Data sources 

Data sources are the various origin points of data collected within applications to be analyzed and interpreted. Data sources are often diverse, incorporating email and phone records, along with other structured and unstructured customer or client data. 

Some of the common data sources in collaborative analytics include:

Internal databases that store records such as customer information, employee records, and sales data. 

External databases that hold industry data, market research, and third-party information. 

IoT data gained from devices and sensors. 

Spreadsheets and files storing information that can be imported and analyzed in collaborative analytics tools.

Data integration

Data integration involves combining data from a variety of sources and making it accessible to multiple stakeholders for analysis. A crucial aspect of collaborative analytics, data integration ensures teams have all the information they need to arrive at accurate conclusions. By leveraging diverse data sources, teams can derive valuable insights and make data-driven decisions. 

Some of the aspects of data integration include:

Data collection from internal and external databases, data warehouses, data lakes, APIs, and spreadsheets among other sources. 

Data conversion into a common format through processes like data cleansing, normalization, deduplication, and aggregation. 

Data synchronization keeps data up to date and consistent across all sources.

Data governance establishes policies and processes for data access, security, privacy, and compliance.

Shared digital workspaces

Cloud-hosted applications like Microsoft Teams and Qlikview offer a shared digital space for teams to share insights and collaborate. Data-driven decisions become easier when insights fostered by data integrations and embedded analytics can be shared through a centralized platform. 

Some of the key benefits of digital workspaces are:

Data access through centralized locations.

Real-time collaboration through access to shared information like data visualizations, reports, and dashboards simultaneously. 

Instant feedback, which increases efficiency and productivity. 

Granular access control ensuring users have the appropriate level of access to data, reports, and dashboards.

Advantages of collaborative business intelligence

Shared data access and the enhanced collaboration features of social business intelligence software leads to streamlined decision making and ultimately to increased productivity.

A collaborative analytics model can improve decision making at many levels by allowing teams to make data-driven decisions together in real time by harnessing the power of analytics tools in a shared remote space. Centralized platforms can gather and analyze data and share it across multiple team members which results in better decisions.

Collaborative business intelligence also enhances agility in teams as data is analyzed within seconds as users are actively working on a project. Not only will teams make better decisions by utilizing a collaborative analytics model, they will make faster ones. 

Increased transparency, cross-functional collaboration, and real-time insights all play into faster and more accurate adjustments to projects, eliminating the need for multiple meetings resulting from lack of clarity between team members. 

Looking for the latest in Business Intelligence solutions? Check out our Business Intelligence Software Buyer’s Guide.


What is social business intelligence?

Social business intelligence, also known as collaborative analytics, refers to the process of working together with multiple stakeholders to gather, analyze, and interpret data using a centralized platform and digital workspaces. 

How can I implement collaborative analytics for my business?

Determine which teams and individuals will be involved in the collaborative analytics process, determine what insights and objectives you want to achieve, choose analytics tools that suit your specific needs such as, for example, Tableau or Microsoft Power BI, consolidate data sources, and create shared workspaces.