RWD Systems Blog
Industry News 16/03/2019

What Is Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence System

When RWD Systems launched, ‘Business Intelligence Systems’ was something of a buzzword. We were uncertain if we even wanted to use it to describe the bespoke data management platforms that we were creating for international business interests. A few years down the line, business intelligence is the term the developer community is still using for the kind of web applications that we design and we have come to accept it. The term even has a greater provenance than perhaps we initially gave it credit for.  

The Origins of Business Intelligence

Flicking through Richard Miller Devens’ 1865 magnum opus The Cyclopaedia of Commercial and Business Anecdotes, an alert reader might happen across what we believe to be the first usage of ‘business intelligence’. In a chapter on Trade and Business Immoralities, the financier Sir Henry Furnese is praised for maintaining “…a complete and perfect train of business intelligence.” (...then damned for subsequently presenting fake news to improve his investments).

By keeping up-to-date with news of foreign affairs and the details of the companies he was investing in, Sir Henry was able to foster a reputation for prescience in business matters that earned him a diamond ring from King William III. Canny businesspeople of the modern day can also reap great rewards from the use of business intelligence – if you know how to extract it from the data your business generates. 

A Modern Definition of Business Intelligence

The American market research behemoth, Forrester Research Inc provides corporations with advice on technology. They define business intelligence as  “…a set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information used to enable more effective strategic, tactical, and operational insights and decision-making.”

An Explanation of Business Intelligence

Robin Sullivan, Managing Director of RWD Systems, explains business intelligence systems:

“At its simplest, a business intelligence system allows businesses to turn raw data into accessible, usable and, above all, useful information. Having the relevant information at their fingertips will increase the likelihood that the staff of a business will make correct and profitable decisions. The systems have applications in all sectors of the economy. Financial services and retail obviously, but also hospitality, manufacturing, transportation etc. We are in the process of building a platform to enable dentists to share patient information securely, which shows how far we’ve come in understanding the possibilities.”

If you would like to know more about our Business Intelligence Systems, call the office on 01603 632552 or email any questions to