Posted by Karthikeyan Sankaran
March 9th, 2009

Edwin Hubble first proposed his now famous Hubble’s law in 1929 and that is considered the first observational basis for the expanding space paradigm – in simple words, Hubble proved (using Doppler effects and Red shifts) that the universe is expanding at an accelerated pace.
At a more earthy level, it is my contention that the universe of Business Intelligence is also expanding at a fairly rapid rate. If Hubble had been a BI practitioner, he would have probably explained the whole expansion quantitatively but I (and you as a reader) have to be content with some qualitative analysis.

Business Intelligence has come a long-way from the days when Howard Dresner defined it in 1989 as “a set of concepts and methodologies to improve decision making in business through use of facts and fact-based systems”. You can read about the changing face of business intelligence at this link

Looking beyond definitions, practitioners would most certainly feel the expansion of BI boundaries in the last 8-10 years. What was initially a technology centric Data Warehousing domain has expanded to subsume areas like Performance Management, Business process analytics, Data and Text Mining, Packaged Industry-specific analytics to name a few.

With the advent of real-time operational BI, Information Services Bus architecture, Complex Event processing (CEP), Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) etc., I will not be surprised if the term Business Intelligence itself gets subsumed under a much more broader & comprehensive concept. With that, I rest my case regarding the relationship between Business Intelligence and Hubble’s law.

Now here is the real point of this blog post. Though the boundaries of Business Intelligence are definitely expanding, there is still lot of play left well-within the boundaries. Organizations fundamentally require insights into their business processes so as to the optimize them. Enterprises embarking on BI initiatives should have one eye on the expanding boundaries but should be pragmatic enough to keep the other eye on what gets delivered at the end of the day. Incremental Business Intelligence is still the right step forward in the BI journey for many organizations but awareness of new developments would make them ready to take the leap when their business demands it.

Fundamentally, BI as we know it, encompasses a wide spectrum and is constantly growing. Organizations should be able identify the right kind of BI that is applicable to them given their current business context and be nimble enough to make changes to the contours of BI within their business as they move forward.

Thanks for reading. Please do share your thoughts.

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