What is business intelligence?
Since Howard Dresner coined the expression “Business Intelligence” in 1989 almost every consultant, vendor, and indeed, customer, has developed their own interpretation of what he meant. The vendors, and in particular their marketing departments, create new (virtual) products much quicker than the programmers can produce them.
There is a serious risk that within the Business Intelligence marketplace we will run out of three letter meaningless acronyms sometime in the next few years, perhaps then we will revert to just calling it “BI stuff” and everybody will know what we mean.
Wonderful world of Business Intelligence
So to answer the question; performance management is clearly part of the wonderful world of Business Intelligence – and always has been. Recently an expert panel that advises an important IT magazine in Holland was asked to give a (simple) definition of Business Intelligence to the readers. The group contained some very smart and experienced people, including an ex-VP of Gartner who worked with Dresner, an ex-VP of Baan who worked with Jan Baan, and an ex-VP of one of the big US BI vendors.
They produced their own definition
The question generated more than 50 emails in 2 days with almost everyone first agreeing with what somebody else had said (consensus is a way of life in Holland) and then producing their own definition. Interestingly enough none of the definitions were wrong and probably none of them were completely right. If we consider Business Intelligence to be a platform, an infrastructure of people, programs and machines that allows us to supply the business with the information it wants when it wants it, then there is no argument that Analytics, CPM, CRM, EIS, EIM etc. are all part of Business Intelligence.
Business Intelligence market is starting a new cycle
It’s clear that the Business Intelligence market has reached the end of a cycle and is starting a new one. The relatively small companies like Business Objects and Cognos who have dominated for years have been bought out, one by one, by the industry giants who until recently hadn’t bothered doing very much, if anything, in Business Intelligence. Companies like SAP, Oracle and IBM are currently building Business Intelligence into their corporate platforms, and when they do the whole discussion of whether CPM is part of Business Intelligence or not will evaporate overnight.