Collaborative Business Intelligence: Socializing Team-Based Decision Support Article

Executive Summary

Collaborative Business Intelligence: Socializing Team-Based Decision Support article by Barry Devlin in Business Intelligence Journal discusses the team-based decision making model that supports thoughtful decision making in many organizations. The model improves the current decision support systems that highly rely on data and partly on model. In the past years, people used business intelligence to make small decisions but relied on large amounts of data, which is not the case with the current business intelligence.

Nowadays, a lot of team effort is required for innovation to take place to enable faster decision making. However, innovative decision making process does not necessarily require the large amounts of data that were traditionally depended on. Moreover, research has proved that most traditional decisions were based on unreliable information which led to decisions that did not conform to the overall organizational strategies and objectives.

Business intelligence (BI) utilizes decisions made by groups which come as a result of interaction among managers, peers, and colleagues (Devlin, 2012). This is specifically made possible through the use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and web 2.0, which promote social innovation, teamwork, and cooperation among people from different geographical locations. Enterprise 2.0 is one of the recent tools which promote interaction within organizations through sharing information and ideas with various stakeholders including customers, shareholders and management.

Innovation Team-based Decision Making

Innovation normally comes as a result of emergence of business challenges. Decision making process reacts to the challenges to meet specific goals that help to solve them. The challenges are addressed by decision support team, which is comprised of workers, organizations or new members. Decision support team requires information from members’ websites to gather more information, and the context which includes the environment, the team itself, the decision, interaction between the team and environment, history of team members, and consequences which bridge the gap between what team members expect and what actually occurs in the real world.

As team members gather information through formal (soft and hard information) and informal (phone calls, conferences, short messages, etc.) means; however, some information gets lost on the way. Moreover, during team members’ discussions, not everything is documented; only information all team members agree upon is normally documented – leaving new members who get admitted in the groups after discussions were made to float and raise unnecessary concerns (Devlin, 2012).

Business intelligence normally needs information from both formal and informal sources, gathered from internal and external sources. Formal information is normally obtained from structured systems which include stored sources while informal information is obtained from sources such as phone calls and electronic messages, which are normally easy to lose. BI encourages storage of such information for future usage.

The iSight Model: Innovative Decision Making

The iSight model to innovative decision making defines team members in terms of what they do in the decision making process – known as the investigation stage, it puts all the activities done during the decision making process together and allow them to be managed as a unit – referred to as the interaction stage, and integrates all informal and formal information together and stores it for future use – called the information stage.

The Investigation Stage

BI requires individual members of a team to collect both formal and informal information from other members of the team, the organization, other organizations, peers, friends, and professionals, and perform thorough investigations to gain their own understanding of the factors surrounding the issue (Devlin, 2012). Individual group members then interpret the information to understand them and identify their possible causes. This enables them to view the issue in a broader perspective and develop strategies of countering them.

Once the causes are identified, group members internalize them to develop possible solutions to the issue. This does not normally utilize software but is initiated by interaction of team members. Team members are finally motivated by their personal goals to analyze the information and develop solutions to the issue.

The Interaction Stage

The interaction of group members acts as a bridge that joins together their behaviors and actions. It normally pushes the team to work with solidarity and achieve stated objectives, monitors the activities and communication in the team, and controls information flaw and getting out of the team (Devlin, 2012). The stage also enables information gathered from formal and informal sources to be captured, analyzed, related, and stored for future use, thus the importance of keeping records of information by team members. Interaction among team members and other stakeholders is made possible by the use of both old and new communication means.

While team members can gather information through the old face-to-face communication, it limits the distance and level of information gathered. Electronic means of communication such as the use of social networking tools hastens decision making process; those tools are cheap, fast, enable gathered information and experience used again later, provide high quality information, and promote efficient decision making processes.

The Information Stage

Formal and informal information is very important in the decision making process. It provides team members with the base to reason, identify causes of problems, and develop solutions that will not only improve overall performance of organizations, but also provide sustainable solutions. They can be extracted from electronic and digital communication which is made possible through various means including phone calls, text messaging, social networking sites, emails, etc. Interaction through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter enables team members to capture, manage, and share information easily (Devlin, 2012).

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