I was talking to Stephen about the study he has embarked on, and we were discussing the words Business Intelligence. I said maybe it is losing real meaning. If you recall a while ago I talked about the use of words and how the word "systems" has lost any precise meaning. Thus in order to communicate clear meaning we must take care the words we use.
The discussion arose because somebody he would like to talk to said "you know we do not do anything with business intelligence." Stephen disagreed because I think he did not mean "BI" in the technical sense but all the information that a business uses to know what is going on in their world internally and externally. That being the definition, all businesses use business intelligence even if they do not call it business intelligence or have a Business Intelligence project.
Thus all internal and external information could be considered business intelligence. I think as soon as you go techy and call it BI, people start thinking about something much more formal. All good business executives use information to tell them what is going on, the trends and what the competition.
A classic business book by Michael Porter called Competitive Strategy had really neat diagram to show the environment that a business operates. I do not recall the diagram in detail but it talks about internal and external environments. Each executive really wants to know what is going on in his business environment.
Now back to the non-words, if we use business intelligence in a very broad sense it may lose it’s meaning. However we are in early days and it will be interesting what Stephen finds in his study.