Business Intelligence: A brief history

Business Intelligence: A brief history

Business Intelligence has gone a long way until it became the Business Intelligence technology that we know and use today.

In 1865 came the coinage of the term "Business Intelligence" on the hands of Richard Millar Devens. He used it in a cyclopedia entitled "Commercial and Business Anecdotes." However, He did't mention Business Intelligence to refer to the BI technology that is being used today.
Devens used it to describe Sir Henry Furnese's strategy to make profit. Sir Henry Furnese, a banker, was able to gain advantage over his competitors by collecting, studying, and acting upon some data.
These data were about the political issues and about the market surrounding him. This gave him an early understanding of these circumstances before his other competitors, which, then, gave him an advantage over them.

Therefore, according to Devens' article, Business Intelligence is the collection and storage of data on paper.
These data, then were studied and analyzed in order to give business owners better insights about their business and the markets surrounding them. And despite being expensive and requiring a large number of workers, data analysis was seen to be very beneficial and its outcome helped the business owners and the decision makers to gain better faster insights which, as a consequence, enabled them to as a consequence, make faster and more accurate decisions for the sake of their businesses.



In 1956, IBM introduced hard disc drivers for the first time to the markets, and these hard discs were only used in protected confines of data centers.
After a while, they were made available to businesses and homes via their PCs.


In 1958, Hans Peter Luhn, an IBM researcher, published an article entitled A Business Intelligence System in an IBM journal.
Source: IBM
In his article, Hans, introduced Business Intelligence as an Automatic system developed to disseminate information to the various sections of any industrial, scientific, government organization. This intelligent system will utilize data. Processing machines for auto-abstracting and auto-encoding of documents and for creating interest profits for each of the action points in an organization.



In the 1970s, IBM and Siebel started entering the BI game. They started taking the first steps towards the modern BI.
Business Intelligence, at that time started being a must-have for business instead of just being an advantage.


In the 1980s, enter data warehouses; they helped the BI's proces in uts development. It allowed data from different sources to be stored in one place, which brought structure and order to the BI process.


In the 1990s a number of BI vendors started appearing in the market. And with the growing number of users, more challenges appeared.
A BI user didn't have the ability to access the data on their own. Data collection and analysis relied solely on IT teams.


In the late 1990s and early 2000s, more and more companies started realizing the importance of BI and how much it could help them. However, due to its relying on IT departments, BI was neither an easy nor a simple task. Clients were always waiting on IT to provide them with their reports.

Business Intelligence was a profitable process but it was not an easy task.



2000 onwards:

BI started being a "self-service", it, now, focuses on supporting the end user more. IT teams are not stuck with the jobs of data analysts anymore. BI users became able to go through the whole BI process, somewhat, on their own.

Business Intelligence today:

Today, Business Intelligence is't considered to be an advantage for its users, it's a must-have for any business or enterprise. Also, it is no longer used only by huge businesses.
It is easily accessible to any business however small. Besides, it can be used by all the departments in any corporation when accurate and quick decisions are needed.


There is no difference that Business Intelligence as a technology has forged ahead since it was first used. And there is absolutely no doubt that it will continue developing and it will keep spreading its wings and more enterprises will acknowledge its importance in helping them building strong foundations for their businesses.