The term business intelligence was first used in 1865 by author Richard Millar Devens, when he cited a banker who collected intelligence on the market ahead of his competitors. In 1958, an IBM computer scientist named Hans Peter Luhn explored the potential of using technology to gather business intelligence. His research helped establish methods for creating some of IBM’s early analytics platforms.
In the 1960s and 70s, the first data management systems and decision support systems (DSS) were developed to store and organize growing volumes of data.
“Many historians suggest the modern version of business intelligence evolved from the DSS database,” says the IT education site Dataversity. “An assortment of tools was developed during this time, with the goal of accessing and organizing data in simpler ways. OLAP, executive information systems and data warehouses were some of the tools developed to work with DSS. (2)
By the 1990s, business intelligence grew increasingly popular, but the technology was still complex. It usually required IT support — which often led to backlogs and delayed reports. Even without IT, business intelligence analysts and users needed extensive training to be able to successfully query and analyze their data. (3)
More recent development has focused on self-service BI applications, allowing non-expert users to benefit from their own reporting and analysis. Modern cloud-based platforms have also extended the reach of BI across geographies. Many solutions now handle big data and include real-time processing, enabling decision-making processes based on up-to-date information.