SQL Server – History of Business Intelligence (BI)

Since the past few years the word “BI” gained lots of importance. Many products got evolved and started supporting the various features of BI. The term has been defined by many people in many ways and you will find lots of information on the internet. Simply put it’s a set of skills and technology to Consume Raw Data and transforms the data into useful information.

There can be a separate chapter to explain what BI is, but here I would like to share some facts about the History of BI. Think of those days before the information age when the data was collected mainly through non-automated sources. Due to this the information was not always handy and readily available and decisions were primarily based on intuition.

1958 – IBM researcher Hans Peter Luhn used the term business intelligence. He defined intelligence as: “the ability to apprehend the interrelationships of presented facts in such a way as to guide action towards a desired goal.

1970 – Kicked off the beginning of the End-User Computing era. Business started becoming automated and more data was available. Collection remained a challenge due to lack of infrastructure for data exchange and due to incompatibilities between systems.


Hence users had to wait for the data most of the time which in turn hampered short term as well as long term strategic decisions. The tools available were focused mainly towards query and reporting and contributed very little towards analysis.

1989 – Howard Dresner, a research scholar at Garter Group (an IT research and advisory firm in Connecticut) popularized the term BI with a set of methods and concepts to improve business decision making by using data resources.

Late 1990s – All the terms lost color in favor of BI, Business Intelligence.

Progress of BI

Early 70s – Executive Information System (EIS)

80s – Decision Support System (DSS)

Late 90s – Business Intelligence (BI)



Amit Karkhanis

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