i-BI : A new name for real BI

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I’ve been working in the BI and related fields since the mid 90s. Over the past number of years I’ve gotten a little bit confused about what Business Intelligence (BI) really means.  Maybe it’s just a bit of old age kicking in way too early.

It seems to me that the term Business Intelligence has been hijacked by a large number of companies and software vendors. It seems that every “reporting tool” has been re-labelled into a Business Intelligence tool, without providing any really intelligence features. You are still just a reporting tool with no real intelligence features. Yes you do have some nice graphics that can be used instead of just listing numbers. But that is not Business Intelligence.

Business Intelligence is going beyond what these tools are capable off. Most of the skills and abilities for BI comes from the people who are doing it, not the tools. In reality you will need to use a number of tools or to write some custom code to help you gain the extra bit of insight into your data. The “reporting tools” can then deliver the results.

Also Ralph Kimball said a long time ago that the skills of someone working in the DW/BI area was that they needed to be half-DBA and half-MBA.

A quote that I heard recently from the Predictive Analytics World Conference, was “You need to be able to ask the right question”. This is to ensure that you can frame your analytics projects correctly and be able to measure the results.

I think that this question was key back in the mid 90s when I started out in the BI field and I still think it applies to all areas of BI.  The thing that we have lost in BI is the real intelligence part of it.

So I’m proposing a new name for really BI. It is intelligent-Business Intelligence (i-BI).

Lets differentiate between BI and the real intelligent BI work.

What do I mean by intelligent BI (i-BI) ?  What I mean area skills in Data Warehousing, Time Series Analysis, Advanced Analytics, Data Mining, Predictive Analysis, solving or addressing real business problems, etc.

Or maybe I’m just wrong and have missed some developments in BI over the past 16+ years. Or maybe I’m becoming a bit too cynical.

What do you think ?

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