30 Years of Business Intelligence

Back to the future of BI

Who actually invented Business Intelligence? What significance did the year 2007 have for the BI market? What were the functional and technological milestones on the way to today's solutions for self-service BI, data discovery, etc.? In our picture gallery, we shed light on the history of Business Intelligence – as a term, as a software solution and as a market segment. And, while looking back, we found some photographs and screenshots in our archive.

Back to the roots, and back to the year 1989. The term "Business Intelligence" was first used at IBM in 1958 – but that was in the context of text analytics or text mining. The way in which the term BI is understood today goes back to how the research and advisory firm Gartner has used it since 1989. That year was also when Achim Berg (left) and Peter Sinn (3rd from the right) founded Corporate Planning, which appeared at CeBIT in 1990.

Navigation unter Windows 3.1

1992: Windows 3.1x was the first commercially successful version of the Windows operating system to come onto the market. One of the applications running on this operating system was the Corporate Planning software – with the tree structure as its navigation tool right from the start.

As graphics cards steadily improved and CPUs became faster in the mid-1990s, new design possibilities emerged. User interfaces started employing colorful icons - above for planning, analysis and reporting.

In the mid-1990s, the Balanced Scorecard took over from what were previously one-dimensional key ratio systems.

In the context of AI and corporate performance management, predictive planning is one of the most important use cases. Above you can see a forecast in the look and feel of 1999.

Fußball und BI

Football and business software: SAP founder Dietmar Hopp became involved in TSG Hoffenheim in 1989, enabling the club to achieve promotion to the Bundesliga. Other football clubs, such as Hamburger SV, benefit from the financial backing of software vendors too.

Planning and corporate performance management evolved into company-wide tasks. With multi-user solutions, departmental managers became involved in analysing and planning the figures for their own departments. With its first web interface, known as cpWeb, and the changeover to client-server technology, Corporate Planning supported the trend towards the decentralisation of corporate performance management right from the start.

In 2013, the analysts from the market research firm Lünendonk estimated the size of the BI software market in Germany to be €1.3bn. The top 10 vendors in the German market included Qlik and Corporate Planning.

Stabübergabe - Peter Sinn übergibt an Matthias Kläsener

Without BI, everything would grind to a halt. In 2007, the major software vendors bought into the Business Intelligence market: SAP acquired Business Objects, Oracle bought Hyperion, Cognos bought Applix and IBM took over Cognos.
But independent software vendors such as Corporate Planning have succeeded in holding their own in the fiercely competitive market too. In 2018 - after 28 years of steering the company - , the CP founder Peter Sinn passed the torch to Hannover Finanz and CEO Matthias Kläsener, who is leading the company into the future. In 2019 Corporate Planning celebrates its 30th birthday.