Business intelligence (BI) has always had a “pipeline” orientation—in other words, a primary focus on the one-way flow of data, information and insights from “sources” (e.g., your customer relationship management systems, enterprise data warehouses, and subject-area data marts) to “consumers” (e.g., you).

But we all know that this pipeline orientation—also known as “simplex” information transfer—doesn’t describe the predominant flow of mission-critical intelligence in our lives. Quite often, the most important insights are those that issue from other people’s heads, not from our companies’ data marts. Many real-world intelligence flows are full-duplex, many-to-many, and person-to-person in orientation. This fundamental truth will continue to drive the spread of “social” architectures in core BI and advanced analytics.

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