Chapter 14

Contemporary Business and Competitive Intelligence

Theresa B. Mack

James P. Martin

An automatic system is being developed to disseminate information to the various sections of any industrial, scientific, or government organization. This intelligence system will utilize data-processing machines for auto-abstracting and auto-encoding of documents and for creating interest profiles for each of the “action points” in an organization. Both incoming and internally generated documents are automatically abstracted, characterized by a word pattern, and sent automatically to appropriate action points.

—H. P. Luhn, IBM Journal, October 1958


Business intelligence, a term first coined by H. P. Luhn in 1958, was formerly used to describe a computer system that acted as a repository for information centered on corporate strategy. Within this system were compilations of publicly available data and action points for various entities within the firm. These data would be automatically disseminated to appropriate parties by the system for efficiency and to encourage more expedient responses to the incoming data.

However, with time, the concept of business intelligence has broadened significantly. It now refers to the act of perceiving changes in a firm's external environment, and subsequently formulating a plan to shepherd these changes throughout the organization. Moreover, contemporary business intelligence refers to the gathering of quantitative data and the use of unique ...

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