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Microsoft promises real-time, self-service BI

Mary Branscombe | Feb. 17, 2016
Can you watch your business as it works without slowing it down? The right collaboration and reporting tools can give you a real-time picture of what’s happening inside your business, without all the manual reporting.

Beyond improving your personal work habits, Nadella pitches Delve as giving you a real-time view of how your business is working. “I’ve always dreamed of having a tool that allows me to see what's happening in the company as it happens, not when it's posted afterwards,” he said at Future Decoded. “Knowing that someone is working on an RFP or a customer escalation or an outage in our cloud, and now I can get in touch with them or see that document that they’re working on. This is a great way for me to know what people are working on instead of me waiting on them telling me what they're working on.”

Management needs to think agile

Currently, we spend a lot time waiting for colleagues to tell us what they’re working on. In its 2015 Work Management Study, Wrike (which describes its cloud service as not just collaboration, but a work management platform) found that 46 percent of employees claimed most or all of their meetings were just for status updates. The problem goes up and down the business hierarchy, says Wrike CEO Andrew Filev.

“Today, there’s a huge lag between the decision-making being done at the top of the food chain and when things happen,” Filev says. “It’s so frustrating for you as a CEO; you know what you want to happen and then you wait and you wait and you wait …” He says businesses need to learn from the agile and reactive workflow developers have been increasingly adopting – think continuous delivery and continuous development for the way you run your business rather than just for your IT systems – and that doing that needs tools that show you what’s happening in your business right now.

“One of the issues is so much of this is invisible right now. If you’ve got ten thousand documents in OneDrive, how does that help you? Everyone in your company has a couple of thousand emails in their inbox but that doesn't help you know whether you’re blocking someone who’s waiting for you or how you unblock then. If you look at a typical business person, they need something similar to make sense of it all.”

Simply replacing email with messaging systems like Slack or social networks like Yammer doesn’t help, Filev says. “A lot of collaboration tools have the push mentality, where you have to send a message to get information. Push is good but there has to be a system where you can go to tap into information or people just go back to their old habits; you can have great tools and still find you have to have those Monday morning meeting to reconcile everything.”


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