The 1990s are referred to as the era of “business intelligence 1.0.”
During this period, Business Intelligence history accelerates, and stops being a very niche area to become more commonly known in the business world. More companies started up to provide business intelligence software.
However, the technology of business intelligence was still basic. BI solutions were extremely expensive. Furthermore, it could take weeks — even months — to ask a BI query.
These systems were not flexible, and only the biggest corporation could afford the budget for these solutions. Since it was too long to get a result from a query, companies inevitably focused on their core KPIs and nothing else when using BI.
It is only by asking the right data analysis questions that you will get something valuable from your data.
Business Intelligence Applied – The OLAP Cube
OLAP means OnLine Analytical Processing, and these OLAP cubes were the precursor to new real-time analytics platforms.
In the past, IT people were the only ones able to access databases. OLAP cubes allowed business users to query a database using English rather than a command line prompt. These OLAP cubes started being used in the late 1990s after Microsoft developed the MDX language to interact with them.
The 2000s are referred to as the era of Business Intelligence 2.0.
Due to exponential increases in processing power, and increased demand for more intuitive business intelligence solutions, the 21st century has seen a slight increase in BI Tools flexibility and ease-of-use. For example, the 2000s saw the first cloud BI software. These softwares enabled smaller companies to use BI, as they didn’t have to use an expensive enterprise solution with hefty up-front setup fees.
Another new capability was real-time processing through frameworks like Hadoop. In the past, databases would have to be updated in “batches,” which could involve significant lag time. Real-time processing allows for completely up to date information to be used in business decision making.
Finally, BI platforms started to be offered as self-service analytics software. These solutions allowed a layman, non-technical user to intuitively generate reports and data by a click-drag-drop interface rather than typing into a command line.
BI, Applied – Interactive Dashboards
Interactive dashboards are one very recent development. They allow business users to customize their view of a dashboard in real time.
For example, a Sales Director wants to see an overview of the trends for this year. He can look at a dashboard view which shows the average closing rate, revenue per products, customers industries, and so on. He can also have another dashboard showing which Sales Person is performing the most.
There is constant innovation for Business Intelligence, for example, Machine Learning (the process of computers upgrading their capabilities by themselves) is a recent technology. BI allows us to make the best decisions we can in the midst of an uncertain future.
We are far away from the day that we needed to ask the IT department a question and we will only get an answer a few weeks after. BI Tools are improving the user experience and also with Machine Learning we are having smarter BI Platforms that allow us to save time.
The functions driving Business Intelligence:
Penetration of Business Intelligence Solutions by Industry:
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