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2014/08/30 00:00:00

Business Intelligence determination

Uncertainty of the term business intelligence was affected by polysemy of the English word "intelligence". Today theorists, vendors and market researchers of BI often disperse in determination of the fact that such BI.

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Term Business Intelligence

the term Business Intelligence was offered by the American scientist Hans Peter Long (1896-1964). He was a specialist in the field of information science, i.e. was engaged in information science in its first-born sense as it was during a pre-computer era, only electromechanical tabulators were available to it.

Before designating a subject of the work, it defined its components, having described business as a set of the different activities undertaken in science, technologies, commerce, the industry, legislative activity, defense, etc. He called the communications systems supporting these types of activity intelligence system, i.e. systems supporting reasonable activity. And Loong understood capability as intelligence to set interrelation between representations of discrete facts to act for the benefit of solutions of assigned tasks and the planned purposes.

The birth of BI is dated 1958 when Hans Peter Long published article "A Business Intelligence System" in IBM System Journal. In it it provided business as a set of different types of activity in science, technologies, commerce, the industries and even in the legislative sphere, and systems providing it – systems supporting reasonable activity (intelligence system).

Loong designated by the word intelligence capability to set interrelation between representations of discrete facts and actions for the benefit of the solution of assigned tasks and achievement of the planned purposes. Loong is remarkable the versatility: he worked many years in the textile industry, made several inventions, including the measuring lunometr device made and used to this day. However in the 50th years he changed activity and directed many efforts to development of methods of work with information; it is known that Loong offered hashing algorithms and full-text search.

Obviously outstripped time therefore further this part of its work was forgotten for 30 years in representation of BI of the Moon, up to that time when in 1989 it was rediscovered by the famous analyst from Gartner Howard Dresner and gave BI broad treatment, having suggested to use BI as the umbrella term for the different technologies intended for decision support, no more than that, after that began a confrontation of opinion and search of sense of BI.

Twenty years later after the publication Dresnera his point of view became commonly accepted. Support of BI is still considered as set of the technologies which are poorly connected among themselves. Among them there is still also a classical tool — spreadsheets, plus to that report generators, OLAP technologies, means for business process management with digital instrument boards, to technology of development of data and texts and also many other things.

Modern determinations of Business Intelligence

Uncertainty of the discussed term was affected by polysemy of the English word "intelligence": learn and understand capability; readiness for understanding; the knowledge imparted or purchased by training, a research or experience; action or a status in the course of knowledge; investigation, intelligence information.

  • In determination of analysts of Gartner of the end of the 1980th years
    business intelligence is "polzovatelecentrichesky process which includes access and a research of information, its analysis, development of an intuition and understanding which lead to the improved and informal decision making". Later in 1996 refining — "tools for data analysis appeared, constructions of reports and requests can help business users to overcome the sea of data to synthesize from them significant information — today these tools in total get to the category called business intelligence (Business Intelligence)".

According to initial determinations, BI is a process of information analysis, development of an intuition and understanding for the improved and informal decision making by business users and also extraction tools from data of information, significant for business. It should be noted that the majority of determinations treat "business intelligence" as process, technologies, methods and means of extraction and representation of knowledge.

  • In Jonathan Wu article "Business Intelligence: What is Business Intelligence?", it is said:

"Business Intelligence is process of collecting of multidimensional information on the studied subject. Software applications which provide users with an opportunity to carry out such process for the answer to questions of business and for identification of significant trends or templates in the studied information are developed".
  • And here the determination offered The Data Warehousing Institute:

"Business intelligence is related to process of transformation of data into knowledge, and knowledge in actions of business for obtaining benefit. Is activity of the end user which is facilitated by different analytical and group tools and applications and also data warehouse infrastructure".
  • The glossary avoids directly to speak about business intelligence, and talks about tools of business intelligence (business intelligence tools), but in the context of data, information and knowledge:

"The business intelligence tools — the software which allows business users to see and use a large number of difficult data. Knowledge based on data (data-based knowledge) turns out from given using the business intelligence tools and process of creation and maintaining the data warehouse (data warehousing)".

Other part of determinations considers business intelligence not as process, and as result of process of extraction of knowledge — as knowledge of business for decision making.

  • The following determination is taken from the glossary to material "to Impossible Data Warehouse Situations: Solutions from the Experts":

"Business Intelligence (BI) usually describes result of the profound analysis of detailed data of business, includes technologies of databases and applications and also practice of the analysis. It is sometimes used as a synonym of "decision support" though Business Intelligence a concept technically wider".
  • Other determination of this sort says:

"Business Intelligence is knowledge got about business using different hardware-software technologies. Such technologies give the chance to the organizations to turn data into information, and then information in knowledge".

This determination accurately differentiates the concepts "data", "information" and "knowledge". Data are understood as reality which the computer writes, stores and processes - it is "crude data". Information is what the person is able to understand about reality, and knowledge is what in business is used for decision making. In the course of the organization of information to obtaining knowledge often apply data warehouses, and to representation of this knowledge to users — business intelligence tools. Every year the number of data in the world doubles, but from it there is not enough advantage though they can be turned into useful information and knowledge — information in itself not really is suitable for decision making in a type of its huge volume. Means of business intelligence and data warehouses are designed to find that essential in a lot of data and information that really increases to our useful knowledge. They do not try to replace completely the person, and use the intuition based on his subconsciousness and personal experience for formation of hypotheses.

So, the business intelligence (business intelligence) in the broadest sense defines:

  • process of transformation of data into information and knowledge of business for support of adoption of the improved and informal solutions;
  • information technologies (methods and means) of data collection, consolidations of information and ensuring access of business users to knowledge;
  • knowledge of business got as a result of the profound analysis of detailed data and the consolidated information.

See Also

Business Intelligence, BI (world market)

Business Intelligence (Russian market)

Geography of BI projects

The main trends of the market of BI in Russia

Russian BI: industry specifics