The Past, Present & Future Of Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence is growing in popularity, but where has it come from and where is it going?


Business intelligence has become integral to many companies.

It has allowed them to stay connected to how their company is doing on a second-by-second basis and to make decisive choices based on hard facts rather than conjecture and gut feeling. The importance of it cannot be underestimated, but we wanted to look at how it started and what is in store in the future.

Business intelligence began when people first had the ability to pull reports on what they were doing and how they had been performing. This could have been anything from sales performance figures to the number of customer complaints they had received.It allowed companies to see how their actions had an effect historically or how inaction had equally caused a change.

This could have even been done in paper form, with somebody looking through the historical sales history and noting trends and flagging up any anomalous results. It meant that decision makers had information that allowed them to have a holistic view over the historical data that may help with future development.

Later, this became much easier as sales records, receipts and various transactions were stored on a computer. It meant that rather than having a filing cabinet and an employee going through each document, a report could be pulled detailing patterns and graphically showing decision makers the same information, but in a significantly reduced timeframe.

This saved significant amounts of time and meant that significantly more data could be analysed in the same amount of time. It still had an issue with the data it was actually using though, as it was being forced to use historical data that mainly needed to be manually entered into the system.

The internet changed this and allowed companies to see data that was up-to-date at the point at which the report was pulled. Therefore if a trend could be identified early through recent data then it could quickly be acted on. With more powerful systems, reports can now even be updated in real-time, meaning that the patterns and trends are completely accurate as of the moment you look at the screen.

Business Intelligence has therefore come a long way, but with the increased volume of data being gathered and the practice of cleaning data becoming more widespread, it is likely to become even more important in the future.

The growth of data gathering has had a profound effect on most companies and the likelihood is that this will be of huge significance to Business Intelligence functions. It will allow for reports to be pulled with a higher degree of accuracy and with the larger number of data points, the chances of finding previously undiscovered trends is increased.

With the increased in volume of data, the necessity to have clean and easily useable data has become more important. Clean data has therefore meant that the findings from Business Intelligence is more accurate and therefore better for the company as a whole. With this proliferation of clean data and accurate models, business intelligence is given the best possible opportunity to make a big impact in the future.

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