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Will MR Follow the Path of Business Intelligence?

What can MR learn from Business Intelligence to gain more share of mind and market?

Business intelligence

Editor’s Note: This post is part of our Big Ideas Series, a column highlighting the innovative thinking and thought leadership at IIeX events around the world. Steve August will be speaking at IIeX North America (June 13-15 in Atlanta). If you liked this article, you’ll LOVE IIeX NA. Click here to learn more.

By Steve August, Chief Marketing Officer, FocusVision

It may be hard to believe, but the term ‘Business Intelligence’ (BI) was coined in the 19th century. In his 1865 work, “Cyclopedia of Commercial and Business Anecdotes,” Richard Millar Devens first used the term to describe how banker Sir Henry Furnese obtained an understanding of political issues and the market before his competitors:

“Throughout Holland, Flanders, France, and Germany, he maintained a complete and perfect train of business intelligence. The news… was thus received by him first.”

BI came into the modern parlance with the IBM scientists Hans Peter Luhn’s 1958 article, “A Business Intelligence Systen.” Luhn – considered the father of BI – described as “an automatic system developed to disseminate information to the various sections of any industrial, scientific or government organization.”

BI truly exploded into the business mainstream in the 1990’s after Gartner analyst Howard Dresner used the phrase as to describe technical names for data storage and data analysis such as DSS and EIS (executive information systems.).

Since the 1990’s BI has continued grow in both mind and market share, with the tools making it ever easier for non-technical staff to do reporting, attracting vast amounts of investment capital, expanding to the cloud, and morphing into Big Data.

So what does all this have to do with the Insights Industry? What can MR learn from BI to gain more share of mind and market?

Going back to Luhn’s definition of BI, note how he puts a big emphasis on disseminating information to the organization. This is where I believe the insights industry needs to focus more if we want to reach BI’s level.

In our conferences and publications, so much of our discourse is focused on collection and analysis methods, technologies, and practices. And all of these have merit. However, we spend far less attention on effectively disseminating insights to the organization. Ultimately, the worth of even the best-executed research, using the latest methods and technology is measured by its impact to the organization.

It is not a stretch to argue that market research is a actually critical aspect of business intelligence: it illuminates the human stories underlying the data, providing the why to BI and Big Data’s what. But to truly succeed, MR’s information needs to be received by the people who need it.

However, comparatively few organizations have set up the equivalent of a BI system for insights. It is a complex exercise requiring coordination amongst internal departments, technology and panel providers and research agencies. But the benefits and opportunities are huge for organizations who create such systems.

One organization that has created an insights system is Eli Lilly. That’s why I am especially excited to be co-presenting on June 13th at 11:20am at IIeX NA, “Architecting an Insights Nervous System” with David Moore, Senior Director of Global Market Research at Eli Lilly.

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