Chapter 3Business Intelligence:How We Got Here

Business Intelligence Is Born: The First Query

Business intelligence (BI) processes and systems trace their lineage to a 1958 paper written by Hans Peter Luhn, an IBM researcher. Luhn performed the first business intelligence query.

In his paper “A Business Intelligence System,” Luhn described the flow of business information, from photo prints and transcriptions on magnetic tape to auto-recording and auto-abstracting, all the way through to considering what is known, who needs to know, and who needs what and communicating the appropriate information via any number of then-available media. Luhn waxed on about a problem still unsolved more than 70 years after the publication of his paper: “One of the most crucial problems in communication is that of channeling a given item of information to those who need to know it.”

Luhn proposed surfacing relevant data to employees by desk printers, telephones, and photocopies. Here's how it ...

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