Weekly News Roundup: Business Intelligence Isn’t New; Making It Relevant Is

There’s been a lot of noise lately about BI, big data, analytics and visualization, but those principles and technologies have been around for a long time. What’s new in BI is a cultural and technological shift that has more IT and business leaders recognizing that:

A.    There is a lot of information out there, and much of it is human-generated or unstructured;

B.    Data-driven decision making leads to far better results than gut instinct; and

C.    There are finally tools and platforms coming onto the market that make long-existing BI promises newly realistic.

This conversation is reflected in numerous recent articles. Below are two interesting ones from the past week:

Business analytics blog: “The first ever business intelligence project” In this blog, a former colleague of mine, Timo Elliott, writes about the first BI system, which dates back to 1953. This is an interesting look at the many business problems that early system was built to solve, since most of them are the same issues modern BI and visualization tools are trying to address today. The key differences between the historical technology and the tools coming onto the market now have to do with the players involved in using them. BI is moving out of the back office, where it takes highly technical specialists (aka IT) to do everything, and into the front office, where business users can do much more on their own. The recent technological advances that fall under this umbrella are also more flexible than their predecessors and address all aspects of a business, not just narrow areas.

Quocirca: “Bridging the big data divide” In this insightful report, respected analyst Clive Longbottom of Quocirca argues that “data” means all information, not just that which can be neatly structured in databases. He calls for data democratization – not just through IT tools, but with solutions that every stakeholder in a company can harness. Unfortunately, Longbottom notes, existing systems don’t meet that need. Instead, the market needs new approaches, and companies need closer partnerships between line-of-business leaders and IT teams.

Clearly, there’s an increased focus lately on data-driven businesses, which is a good thing for midsize companies that need better ways to extract insight from their data. It’s an exciting time to be in information management, but it will take quite a bit more innovation to find the right balance between IT expertise and line-of-business needs.


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Jeff Boehm

Jeff Boehm

Jeff Boehm was the vice president of marketing at DataGravity for 2 years. Jeff brought more than 20 years of experience with a rare combination of marketing skills, organizational leadership and technical background to DataGravity, having shaped the BI and search markets working for industry pioneers and disrupters.