By Tina Groves, Product Manager, BI Collaboration
Decisions are made every day in a collaborative manner. They are made
around a table and during routine discussions. These decisions may be
captured and shared via email, a PowerPoint presentation or just
verbally and passed on, one person at a time. The challenge comes later
when the decision needs to be revisited. What information was used to
make the decision? Were the appropriate people involved? Was it a real
decision or a statement of intent, requiring further investigation or
If this situation is a challenge that your
organization faces and would like to tackle, consider the power of
collaborative BI to centralize information, stakeholders and related
evidence for a decision.
Let's consider a typical quarterly sales
review. An Activity is created from the shared Sales Performance
workspace using Cognos Business Insight and uses a sales review
template. The Activity is then initialized with a ready-to-use
checklist represented by sections for each sales leads, a list of
stakeholders prepopulated as members, actions requesting pipeline
updates and a URL to the Sales Performance workspace to share the common
view being used for the review. Contributors now have a single place
to publish updates and status for consideration during the meeting with
the Sales Management team rather than emailing files around. Actions
and decisions from the meeting can be recorded in the Activity and
followed up by the Sales leads. When the next quarterly review is being
started, reference to the previous quarter is straight-forward as all
the information is one place.
Other examples are
- Weekly booking reviews: An
airline would review which routes are over booked or under-booked each
week to determine action plans, for example: sell off excess seats to
discount travel services; possibly combine or cancel flights; determine
if trend warrants adding additional flights to route, etc. Tracking
these decisions/actions in a consistent manner (not just in email or a
PowerPoint slide) when dispersed teams are involved is key.
- Commercial leasing approvals:
No two commercial leasing or commercial insurance terms are the same.
If you don't already have an ECM solution, CDM can be used to
consolidate information about a contract or policy in a single place,
from email discussions to supporting files.
- Product or release planning:
Assessing the trade-offs between customer requests, competitive
pressures, and technology shifts requires a collaborative approach
between functional groups and project teams vying for funding and
- Policy reviews: Assess expense
reports from Cognos Business Intelligence to determine those situations
where policies are being circumvented, for example, consistently booking
flights late in order to achieve a higher ticket class in order to use
upgrade certificates and leverage an Activity to capture observations,
impact and recommendations.
- Customer service escalations:
Hot situations are escalated for specialized investigation or to defuse
friction with the account. During the regular review meeting,
leveraging a Cognos customer service dashboard, senior Support staff
review trends to determine which ones are customer-specific, which ones
warrant a product change or possibly something more unique. Notes are
kept during these discussions and actions assigned. Comments added to
the reports to communicate to other teams which issues are being
Let's take a look at how this integration works.
on our earlier example, the Quarterly Sales Review, a Sales management
team reviewing the Sales Performance workspace could identify an issue
in a particular area, let's say with the Nova product line having slow
sales. This is not the first time that Nova has had slow sales, so the
Sales management team asks Bob for an update.
overall product performance for the period using the Products workspace
with the sales management team and then navigates to the related
Activity which is capturing the results and status of the initiative to
improve Nova's sales. He can navigate to the related Activity easily by
clicking the collaboration menu from the toolbar.
related activities are already underway, including one that suggests
it's investigating why Nova Growth is slowing. The descriptions for the
Activity can be shown by clicking the Show link on the right. The Nova Growth Slowing? details show who created the Activity, some recent activity and its objectives.
Clicking Nova Growth Slowing? opens
the Activity which contains sections for proposals, decisions and
actions. When an Activity is created from a Cognos business insight
workspace, an entry is automatically created, linking the Activity to
the dashboard. This enables easy navigation to the sales performance, in
this scenario, for all people involved in improving Nova's sales
you are interested in learning more about Collaborative BI, and the
other BI capabilities that support collaborative decision making, click here