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How Collaborative Analytics Can Give Your Organization a Competitive Advantage

How Collaborative Analytics Can Give Your Organization a Competitive Advantage

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  • 1. A Whitepaper for Corporate Decision-MakersHow Collaborative AnalyticsCan Give Your Organization a Competitive Advantage An Independent Analysis Published on Behalf of
  • 2. White Paper How Collaborative Analytics Can Give Your Organization a Competitive AdvantageExecutive Overview For organizations operating in today’s economy, dominating the increasingly dynamic marketplace has never been tougher. But, leading companies are meeting this challenge by capitalizing on a new approach to spotting, collaborating on, and driving change based on business insights. This solution brings together easy-to-use analytical apps with social collaboration. The new approach dramatically improves the impact and speed with which sales, marketing, and service & support teams get real-time insight to the business and drive real-time change. Traditional business intelligence (BI) systems are becoming increasingly irrelevant in today’s businesses because they don’t enable users to gain real-time insights, especially via today’s increasingly popular handheld devices such as the iPad, iPhone, and BlackBerry. Traditional BI systems are too difficult to quickly tailor to changing business needs. What’s worse, the static reports they produce are typically shared via email and file servers, which makes effective collaboration among an dispersed team difficult, except via costly in-person meetings or inefficient conference calls. To address this failure, a new generation of easy-to-use, real-time analytics apps have put the power to ask new questions and spot evolving insights into the hands of every front-line manager. More important, their integration with a new collaboration platform, Salesforce Chatter, has made collaborating around the insights easy by making the data social, mobile and real-time. By combining these new analytics apps with Chatter, companies can empower front-line sales, service and support professionals and managers to ask key questions and share vital information anytime and anywhere as the market changes, permitting them to drive positive, timely business change. This whitepaper will examine what makes this new Collaborative Analytics approach unique, and show how it can help organizations achieve their corporate objectives by encouraging faster business insights that drive greater sales productivity.Dynamic Markets and the Need for Real-Time Insight and Decisions Three major market forces are driving businesses to seek more effective ways to spot business challenges and opportunities today: 1. The changing competitive landscape 2. The changing nature of the workplace and mobility 3. The success of consumer-oriented, social Web services Compounding external market challenges, the increasingly dispersed and mobile workforce makes it impossible for companies to put together the face-to-face meetings or video/conference calls where insights traditionally are discovered, shared, discussed, and applied to improve the business. Today’s business leaders can’t afford to wait for the next quarterly all-hands meeting to spot a new competitor, product issue, market opportunity, or customer attrition trend. Instead, they need to be able to spot trends, patterns, and anomalies in real time—and then collaborate across mobile teams to drive a business decision. These interrelated challenges have made it essential for organizations to adopt more powerful, flexible, and cost-effective analytics tools and collaboration systems -- to produce timely insight into the business and quickly share and act on these important insights, across the company.© THINKstrategies, Inc., 2011 p.2
  • 3. White Paper How Collaborative Analytics Can Give Your Organization a Competitive AdvantageThe Failure of Business Intelligence (BI) and Email Although organizations need to spot key changes in the market and their business quickly, traditional BI tools are too rigid and time-consuming for frontline manager or business analysts to effectively employ to meet their real-time analytics requirements. Sales and service organizations have historically relied on elaborate spreadsheets or BI systems to satisfy their reporting requirements. In most cases, neither approach was satisfactory, and they’re even less suited for the realities of today’s faster-changing business environment. Traditional BI systems were designed when markets were stable to support highly structured, hierarchal, top-down organizations. These legacy systems often required skilled business intelligence specialists working with dedicated sales admins to generate periodic reports or custom analysis to examine particular business questions. And once the report was produced, organizations typically relied on email or file servers to disseminate it, so they couldn’t track how the information was used. This could be a costly, time-consuming process that often resulted in lost opportunities. Traditional BI has been so cumbersome that it often gets in the way of sharing information, rather than facilitating it. It’s no wonder many front-line managers lost faith in traditional BI. Today’s realities make the BI systems of the past even less appealing. Nearly every industry is being driven by rapidly changing customer demands and facing a radically changing competitive landscape. This turbulent business environment demands more dynamic analytic apps that can track customer and business activity in real time and maintain real-time dashboards to keep the increasingly mobile workforce informed and driving the best results.Cloud Analytics and Collaboration Change the Game Today’s social Web services, such as Facebook and Twitter, have demonstrated the ability to drive broad and spontaneous real-time collaboration. Facebook and other social collaboration tools have demonstrated how social apps can improve sharing information, so it’s no accident that Facebook usage has surpassed email. (See Figure 5.) Figure 1© THINKstrategies, Inc., 2011 p.3
  • 4. White Paper How Collaborative Analytics Can Give Your Organization a Competitive Advantage The rapid growth of Facebook has tempted business executives and end users to adopt social collaboration in their corporate environments. To date, however, they’ve refrained from doing so because of security and privacy concerns. And even Facebook admits its consumer-oriented service was not created to meet the stricter needs of the corporate world. has pioneered easy-to-use, cloud-based analytics and reporting since its inception. Its simple, high-impact dashboards and reports are used by sales and service organizations of all sizes to create visibility and improve productivity. In 2010, released a new round of enhancements to its customer relationship management (CRM) applications—enhancements that dramatically improve the ease with which front-line business users can create, personalize, and access analytics to meet specific needs. At the same time, also recognized it could maximize the value of its analytics capabilities if they could be used and shared by front-line managers on a real-time basis. Seeing an opportunity to further increase productivity and visibility, unveiled TM a powerful new collaboration solution, Salesforce Chatter , in 2010. Chatter was designed from the outset to meet the operating requirements of an enterprise environment. The solution combines the best qualities of Facebook-style social networking with the privacy and security essential for an enterprise collaboration platform. Chatter is a cloud-based, real-time collaboration platform that lets users instantly share valuable information and track important data via real-time news feeds or updates. Its automated notification system proactively alerts users about activities or materials that are relevant to their work. More important from a management perspective data distribution can be controlled via Chatter’s admin capabilities to ensure data security and privacy.Collaborative Analytics: 1 + 1 = 3 Leveraging Chatter, has introduced an new approach to BI, Collaborative Analytics, that combines a secure, private social network with easy-to-use, real-time dashboards and reports. Collaborative Analytics brings the speed and impact of social networking capabilities to collaboration and facilitates spotting, sharing, and acting on business insights.’s Collaborative Analytics can be applied across all traditional customer and business data, including  Accounts & Contacts  Marketing & Leads  Opportunities & Quotes  Content & Files  Partners  More than 1,000 apps on the AppExchange  Custom apps built on the cloud platform As Figure 2 shows, the result is a more useful dashboard that lets front-line business managers obtain and share key, real-time data about the business to make better decisions and drive better performance.© THINKstrategies, Inc., 2011 p.4
  • 5. White Paper How Collaborative Analytics Can Give Your Organization a Competitive Advantage Figure 2 Executive Dashboard Integrated With Chatter With Collaborative Analytics, the apps can alert key businesspeople following a given chart when that chart crosses a critical business threshold or has been modified. Figure 3 shows how any authorized user can create new analysis on the fly, and immediately share their new charts via Chatter with peers, managers, or teams.© THINKstrategies, Inc., 2011 p.5
  • 6. White Paper How Collaborative Analytics Can Give Your Organization a Competitive Advantage Figure 3 Creating & Sharing Real-Time Analytics Via ChatterConclusion A combination of macro-market forces is creating a new set of challenges for business people within organizations of all sizes. These challenges are making it imperative to provide greater access to real-time data and insights—and new ways to work across mobile, dispersed teams—so they can take action in real time and be successful. Legacy BI tools weren’t designed for business users. These cumbersome, highly centralized systems can’t support an increasingly dispersed sales team. Even with the data traditional BI tools made available, distribution via file servers and email impeded effective conversations and collaboration around what the data showed. And, spreadsheets can’t scale, quickly become out of date, and are often filled with errors. As a result, a growing number of corporate decision-makers are turning to a new generation of easy-to-use, real-time cloud-based analytics tools to achieve their business objectives.’s latest real-time analytics and visualization capabilities—combined with its Chatter collaboration platform—are setting a new standard for the industry.© THINKstrategies, Inc., 2011 p.6
  • 7. White Paper How Collaborative Analytics Can Give Your Organization a Competitive Advantage It is for these reasons that a growing number of organizations of all sizes are taking advantage of’s Collaborative Analytics to solve business problems while transforming their employees into efficient, productive real-time collaboration teams.© THINKstrategies, Inc., 2011 p.7
  • 8. White Paper How Collaborative Analytics Can Give Your Organization a Competitive Advantage This independent analysis was sponsored by About is the enterprise cloud computing company. The companys Chatter, Sales Cloud, ServiceCloud, and Jigsaw CRM applications, available at, have revolutionizedthe ways that companies collaborate and communicate with their customers across sales, marketing, andservice. The company’s platform ( helps customers, partners,and developers quickly build powerful business applications to run every part of the enterprise in the cloud.Based on’s real-time, multitenant architecture, Chatter, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Jigsawand offer the fastest path to customer success with cloud computing. About THINKstrategies, Inc.THINKstrategies is a strategic consulting services company formed specifically to address theunprecedented business challenges facing IT managers, solutions providers, and investors today as thetechnology industry shifts toward a services orientation. The company’s mission is to help our clients re-THINK their corporate strategies, and refocus their limited resources to achieve their business objectives.THINKstrategies has also founded the Cloud Computing Showplace (, an easy-to-use, online directory and resource center of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS solutions worldwide, organized intoover 90 Application, Industry, Service and Enabling Technology categories. The Showplace also includesinformation and insights regarding industry best practices. For more information regarding our uniqueservices, visit, or contact us at© THINKstrategies, Inc., 2011 p.8