150 years of Business Intelligence: A brief history

Business Intelligence (BI) has become the indispensable set of tools and strategies used by organisations to carry out insightful and effective business operations

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1990's & 2000's: Business Intelligence 1.0 and Business Intelligence 2.0

After the first generation of BI comes what is considered Business Intelligence 1.0.

The main development for BI during the 90's was the proliferation of BI tools. One of the most popular was Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), which is a management software that integrates applications to manage and automate aspects of a business.

BI also enters the mainstream business arena and techniques become marketable through the use of batch-processing reporting.

At the same time, the expansion of the internet and mobile data became the main actors in the tech scene.

In between decades, BI services began providing simplified tools which allowed decision makers to become more independent.

The tools were easier to use than the previous versions, were more efficient and provided the functionality that was needed. Business people could now gather data and gain insights by working directly with it.

The 2000’s (known as Business Intelligence 2.0) added more speed to BI development and saw a concentration of BI in the hands of IBM, Microsoft, SAP and Oracle.

Predictive analysis provided a new method of using data, algorithms and machine learning to forecast business future changes.

Cloud technologies and internet-based software come to the fore as real-time feeds and improved visualisation change the way data is viewed.

With the birth of ecommerce and social media channels such as Twitter or Facebook, BI was presented with a brand new world of opportunities.

By 2010, 35% of enterprises use pervasive BI and 67% of “best in class” companies have some self-service BI.

2010 - Present day

Today we are in the 3.0 stage of BI.

BI has become a standard tool for every medium or large enterprise, from finance and banking to IT and communications.

Current BI tools work across multiple devices and use visual analytics to apply analytical reasoning to data through interactive visual interfaces.

Efforts are placed on making BI tools and applications as intuitive as possible and in acquiring the skills needed to successfully apply them.

The future: What’s next for BI?

There are countless ways in which your business can benefit from BI.

BI tools could soon be part of the past as data analytics become embedded in applications and companies integrate hardware and software into holistic packages.

The evolution of systems will result in more simplified and easier to access reports, as well as in an increase in the quantity of complex data.

One of the biggest challenges facing BI today is data quality. However, innovations in the field are already making BI tools more accessible and collaborative, which no doubt will generate more opportunities for businesses.

And what about BI in ASEAN countries?

With the rapid economic growth in the region, ASEAN businesses are seriously considering the potential of BI and emerging economies such as Indonesia and Malaysia are starting to invest heavily in it.

According to the 2013 Gartner Executive Programs (EXP) CIO Agenda survey, BI and Analytics topped the 2013 technology priority list for CIOs in Asia Pacific. The estimated size of the Asia Pacific BI and Analytics services in 2013 stood at USD 2.1 billion, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2% through 2015.

And while stats for 2018 are yet to provide any insight, the growing trend is that the ASEAN region will follow suit in BI adoption and more organisations will make it a priority in coming years. 

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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