History of Business Intelligence

According to the article History of Business Intelligence. The term Business Intelligence was used for the first time in 1865. Richard Miller Devens mentioned it in his book Cyclopedia of Commercial and Business Anecdotes. In the book he describes the success of Sir Henry Furnese, a banker that had information of the market and political issues before his competitors did. “Throughout Holland, Flanders, France, and Germany, he maintained a complete and perfect train of business intelligence,” Devens writes of Furnese. “The news…was thus received first by him.” The idea of Business Intelligence was gathering information for business purposes.

Businessman holding tablet pc computer with the projection screen of
Before computers arrived, data was stored in files inside filing cabinets. That is until 1956, when IBM invented the hard disk drive. Data was stored in disks, but it was too risky and difficult to manage. Then Edgar Codd invented the database in 1969. This provided a new way to store data, but only those with a lot of expertise were able to access it.
Business tools were created in the 1970s to help manage data in databases. They provided an easier way to enter data into the database. But access was still not easy since data was coming from multiple sources. They tried accessing data with reports, but they were one dimensional and provided access in silos, meaning that the data came out fragmented. It was impossible to have a single version of the truth.
Data warehouses were created to try to solve this. Ralph Kimball and Bill Inmon made data warehouses popular in the early 1980s. The data warehouse provided a way to take different data sources and store them in one place. Now the data could be organized, managed and accessed.
BI 1.0
At this stage BI tools could analyze and report. The term BI was coined by Howard Dresner in 1989. More BI vendors started to appear and they promised more access across multiple locations to report and analyze the data. This is the stage of performance: business users wanted data faster. Everything evolved quickly at this stage and there were new BI tools, but they still didn’t work as users would have wanted. As a result of the BI tools’ areas of opportunity, in many cases, data ended up being analyzed in Excel Spreadsheets. And the lack for one version of the truth continued.
BI 2.0
More BI tools appeared in the market with new capabilities that provided more functionality. But business users were still lacking something. The problem was in the way the system worked. Users needed to request access to data from the IT department. The BI tools were not intuitive so there was no way to go around IT. This created a lot of delays and bottlenecks in the process of analyzing and reaching insights. At this stage, it was all about intuitive access and timeliness of data to provide better usability. BI tools were starting to address the problem and new technologies appeared, allowing self-service access to non-IT users. With this came a new challenge: how to balance self-service and governed data to obtain a single version of the truth.


Smart Data—The Internet grew exponentially (is still growing) and with it came huge amounts of data. Social media and applications provided a massive volume of data to be analyzed in order to gain insights. BI passed from being an advantage to being a necessity in a data-driven world.
Focusing on the end user—BI needed to focus more on people because people are the ones making decisions. It needed to allow users to collaborate and communicate about their questions and findings in order to reach actionable insights.
Visualization—the data needed to be presented in a way that would make sense to the user. BI tools have improved their data visualization capabilities. Visualization has come a long way from Excel tables, to pies and charts, to beautiful infographics.
The future—Systems of Insight.
The future of Business Intelligence is to upgrade into a System of Insight, which has more data availability and more business agility. The System of Insight combines the best of both worlds.
What key factors make a System of Insight?
• Contextual insights, embedded.
• Suggestive BI and cognitive computing.
• Actionable insights.
• Continuous feedback loop for learning and improvement.
The System of Insight’s goal is winning, serving and retaining customers. It is not only sponsored by CIO, but also by CMO, CFO, VP Sales, CRO, CSO. It includes everyone. And it connects IT and Business in the most appropriate and efficient way: business takes the wheel, and IT supports.
The future of BI will be all about insights. It will be about enjoying automation while maintaining the human touch. Panorama Necto 16 is leading the path to insightful BI. It is currently the only solution in the market that pushes automated insights through various algorithms, allowing the user to analyze 100% of the data.

Subscribe to our blog