Why Google Wave failed and Social Business Intelligence won’t

December 17, 2010
253 Views

A few people have mentioned that the new collaborative features in Yellowfin have a stong Google Wave feel about them.  It’s true, we did look to Google Wave as a source of inspiration.  But, we believe there’s a huge difference in what Google Wave had to offer, compared to what Social and Collaborative BI will provide for the enterprise.

Google Wave: A solution without a problem

A few people have mentioned that the new collaborative features in Yellowfin have a stong Google Wave feel about them.  It’s true, we did look to Google Wave as a source of inspiration.  But, we believe there’s a huge difference in what Google Wave had to offer, compared to what Social and Collaborative BI will provide for the enterprise.

Google Wave: A solution without a problem

As a concept, Google Wave was ingenious. We use the past tense seeing as Google is sadly closing it down.

Google Wave provided a shared space on the web for people to communicate, share documentation and collaborate in real-time. Participants could also embed information – such as formatted text, videos, photos and maps – into the forum for discussion, or to give context to existing discussions. Google Wave provided many of the features and functionality that should be included in successful Social Business Intelligence (BI) (or enterprise collaborative decision-making) platforms.

However, Google Wave failed to achieve high levels of success because it’s a collaborative engine without a problem.   It was a collaborative platform that had no focus in terms of collaboration.  For example, users know they’re sharing photos on Flickr, but Google Wave had no such focal point.

So how does Social Business Intelligence differ?

So how does Social BI differ I hear you ask? Simple. Social BI has been, and is continuing to be developed, in response to an existing ‘problem’ – the quest for better, faster and collaborative decision-making. Social BI components have a specific role and purpose to fulfill – to facilitate organizational collaboration around reporting and analytics and organizational data. Google Wave did not.

An enterprise collaborative platform integrated within a BI solution enables users to collaborate where their information (BI content) is.  Their data, and their reports are the focal point of their collaboration.

An example

But let’s use an example.

You’re using your BI tool to search for data on last month’s sales results from the Americas. You find a startling anomaly – sales have skyrocketed compared to previous months. Why? What has been done differently? How do we replicate it?

If the collaborative decision-making platform is within the BI tool, you can immediately start the investigation, inviting others into the conversation in full view of the data. There’s no need to set up meetings and discussions in isolation from your data set.

The collaborative process remains clearly documented in a single open-access space, and discussion remains on topic – the underlying information (data) is right there.

You need both your collaborative platform and your information in the one place to enable successful collaborative decision-making.