Business intelligence (BI) has evolved more quickly in the last few years. Decades ago, business owners had to rely on data experts to tell them what data meant and how it connected to their business strategies. With new advances in BI, it’s now possible for anyone to perform this level of in-depth data analysis; it isn’t just a job for skilled analysts anymore.

BI technology will continue to evolve rapidly over the next few years. Here’s how you can prepare for the future and get the most benefit from these breakthroughs.

A Brief History of the Evolution of Business Intelligence

Because new technologies are constantly being introduced, it’s easy to forget how far we’ve come. By looking back at the history of the evolution of Business Intelligence, we gain a better understanding of which trends BI has been moving toward—and even where BI is headed in the future.

To understand how much BI technology has evolved, take a look at the timeline below:

  • 1865 – Professor Richard Millar Devens coins the term “business intelligence” in his book Cyclopaedia of Commercial and Business Anecdotes, which describes how to use market trends to increase profits. Businesses start to use this technique for the first time.
  • 1958 – Most market data is organized by hand. For the first time, computer scientist Hans Peter Luhn uses computers to help businesses analyze this data more efficiently.
  • 1968 – Data silos are used to store data and large enterprises hire data analytics specialists to sift through this data and generate reports.
  • 1970 – Computer scientist Edgar Codd invents a relational database management model, allowing data analysts to generate more reliable, accurate reports.
  • 1980s – BI becomes more popular in a wide range of industries. In response to this growing demand, computer scientists invent a number of different BI tools, including data warehouses, Executive Information Systems (EIS) and Online Analytical Processing (OLAP). By the end of the 1980s, businesses can collect data, generate reports and visualize data using a variety of charts and other tools.
  • 1990s and Mid-2000s – Computer scientists create applications and tools that allow anyone in the enterprise to access data and generate reports—not just data analysts. Predictive analytics also become more reliable.
  • Present Day – BI technology becomes more user-friendly. Self-service tools are now standard and used by large enterprises and small businesses alike. Businesses no longer need to hire data analysts or IT staff to generate reports. Cloud computing is also possible, eliminating the need for magnetic tape and physical data warehouses.

The evolution of BI has been slowly moving toward self-service systems since the 1990s. In the past, technological limitations prevented business owners from gathering their own data and analyzing it. Now that we have reliable cloud storage and computing, offsite data warehouses, and applications that automatically compile and generate accurate reports, businesses of all sizes can perform in-depth analytics without having a data expert or IT team on staff.

More Self-Service BI Tools

The evolution of BI has led to a boom in self-service tools that don’t require any special expertise to use. Most businesses hire IT firms that specialize in BI and data analytics. These firms provide the user platform, analytics tools and visualizations for the enterprise. This means that even if you have little to no experience with technology, as long as you know how to access the BI platform and where to request new reports, you can obtain in-depth analyses with little effort.

However, this self-service technology isn’t new—it’s been available for a number of years, and increased in popularity significantly in 2016. Self-service options are now just a springboard for future BI innovations.

For example, in 2017, self-service BI made it easier for businesses to move their data over to the cloud completely. For the first time, more businesses were choosing cloud over on-premise server farms. This has led to higher revenues as businesses spend less money maintaining expensive servers. In 2017 we also saw advances in machine learning, which has made the data analysis process faster and more accurate.

There have also been a number of advances in BI over the past year. Now that self-service BI and in-depth data visualizations have become standard in most industries, the tools we use to generate these visualizations have improved. It’s not enough anymore to just generate a basic scatter plot or pie chart. Business owners want to see predictive analysis and computer-generated simulations. As a result, the quality of data analytics has improved significantly to meet demand, especially with the introduction of machine learning tools.

In the future, we can expect to see an even greater evolution of Business Intelligence self-service options and predictive machine learning. These tools will allow you to make better business decisions, as you’ll have all of the information you need at your fingertips.

Staying Up-to-Date with the Evolution of Business Intelligence

If you want to take advantage of the latest BI trends, you should enlist the help of a reliable IT firm that provides a full range of services. When you hire an experienced firm, you won’t have to read up on the latest innovations or make the transition to these new technologies yourself. Quality IT firms are constantly improving their services. The experts on these teams understand which technologies are worth implementing now and which still need some time to fully perfect.

As BI evolves over the next few years, IT firms will integrate new innovations into the services they offer. This will let you try out all of the latest trends with no risk to your enterprise or your data, and help you make the most out of the technology.

If you’re ready to maximize your BI this year, contact Tek Leaders today. Our team of IT experts has carefully tracked the evolution of business intelligence over the past few years and have identified the most important BI strategies that every business should implement. If you have more questions about the BI tools we use, you can reach us by email or call us at (214) 504-1600 directly.

Author: Devender (Dev) Aerrabolu

Devender (Dev) Reddy Aerrabolu is the CEO of Tek Leaders. His goal is to help SMBs bring value from their data. Dev helped Tek Leaders grow from scratch into a $25 million enterprise by focusing on clients’ data needs.