Business intelligence

Business Intelligence is a very widely applied process in which information is obtained about the performance of a company by collecting business data. By subsequently transforming this information into knowledge, problems can come to light that give the company a lesser market position. Resolving these problems and establishing strategic business objectives can lead to a better competitive position and therefore better results.

The History of Business Intelligence

Where we used to speak of Management Information Systems, nowadays the term Business Intelligence is often used. In fact, the term is already several decades old, but in recent years it has been increasingly used. It involves the process of collecting and analyzing data, with the aim of improving performance. This used to be a long process, because it was a lot of work and also had to be partly based on intuition. However, automation has led to explosive growth in the possibilities for data analysis. Firstly, more data is available (much more data is retained through automation), but the analyzes are also much faster. ICT and automation are therefore partly responsible for the success of Business Intelligence .

The role of ICT in Business Intelligence

As already described, ICT underlies the success of Business Intelligence. The use of ICT has ensured that a lot of data is available, and that companies store much more data than before. Collecting data is much faster and making it suitable for analysis and the analyzes themselves have also become much easier through the use of ICT.

How does Business Intelligence work?

Business Intelligence collects data from various systems and places it in a specific database. This data can include customers, competition, market situations, company data, etc. All data is then prepared for analysis. In other words, they are transformed in such a way that they become uniform and can be compared with each other. After this, everything is analyzed and the results are presented in such a way that they can add value to a company’s management and support decisions. These so-called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) (e.g. profit figures, customer satisfaction, speed, service, etc.) are very important indicators for business performance. When compared with desired situations, it is sometimes referred to as a balanced scorecard.

The future of Business Intelligence

Expectations about the future of Business Intelligence have been very high in recent years. Until 2012, a growth of no less than 12 percent per year was predicted! However, this was before the credit crisis and in early 2009 more nuanced statements were made about the growth performance of Business Intelligence . Growth is expected to continue, but this is mainly because more and more smaller parties are entering the market. The large Business Intelligence supplying companies will no longer grow quickly. A second cause for the declining growth is that companies themselves partly have Business Intelligence applications, because these are increasingly integrated into standard software for companies. The purchase of additional products is therefore no longer necessary. Moreover, nowadays the necessity of Business Intelligence is no longer blindly assumed , because it has not always proven successful in the past.


Although the growth of Business Intelligence appears to be stagnating somewhat, it is expected to remain a very important part of business operations in the future. In economic downturns, companies have a greater need for correct data, so that decisions can be made with great certainty and risks are reduced. This is what Business Intelligence stands for.