​Like the web and other technologies before it, business intelligence has evolved. Today’s business intelligence solutions are nothing like their predecessors.

For example, early incarnations of business intelligence software were tool-centric and designed for IT- and data scientist-level users. Reports tended to look back, be highly detailed, and be generated on a monthly basis. The primary use case of first generation business intelligence software and its batch-processing reporting was for operational reconciliation. Let’s call this era “Business Intelligence 1.0.”

Business Intelligence 2.0 evolved, opening up business intelligence to the aptly called “data explorers.” Rather than being installed in a client-server configuration, these solutions moved to the Web. Highly scalable, Business Intelligence 2.0 was widely embraced by enterprise organizations. Instead of looking back, BI 2.0 allowed users to explore and predict. Rather than generating detailed monthly reports, this generation was better suited to generating summary reports on a daily or weekly basis.

Today, business intelligence has entered its third generation. Just as other technologies moved from client-server configurations to the Web and now to mobile devices, the same is true of Business Intelligence 3.0. BI 3.0 can be accessed across multiple devices, and it is extremely user friendly and collaborative. Today’s business intelligence users do not need an advanced degree in computer or data science, nor do they need to have a driving interest in exploring data. Business Intelligence 3.0 appeals to business users of all abilities and from a myriad of functional backgrounds. From accountants and C-level executives to warehouse supervisors, purchasing managers, sales and marketing staff, and beyond, the entire team can find the information needed to move forward. Business intelligence 3.0 has a collaboration focus and is ideal for social workgroups. Instead of generating monthly, weekly, or daily reports, BI 3.0 is capable of generating real-time reports on any number of processes.

According to InetSoft, a developer of business intelligence software, “With Business Intelligence 3.0 in demand, you’ll want to have the ability to connect to relational databases, multidimensional databases, column-based data warehouses, and software such as Google AdWords and Analytics, Salesforce.com, Microsoft Excel and more.” Big data has also become a trend over the last year or so. Companies are using big data to become more efficient, strategic, and responsive to ever-changing customer needs (Source).

At the same time, Business Intelligence 3.0 allows for the functionality of its predecessors. For example, if you want to look back at a detailed report covering the last 20, 60, 90, or 365 days, you can certainly do so. With enhanced functionality, real-time reporting, ease of use, and collaborative tools, this new generation of business intelligence builds on the gains made over the years.

According to an article posted on YellowFin, Defining Business Intelligence 3.0, the latest generation of business intelligence software enables an organization’s decision-makers to explore, create and analyze data quickly without having to master a complex tool or getting IT involved. BI 3.0 empowers business users to explore, collaborate, and understand visual data.

Business intelligence and the data visualization and real-time reporting tools that accompany it have evolved. We are now entering a new generation of business intelligence. Are you ready?

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