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Expanding the definition of Business Intelligence to fit modernity

The traditional definition of “Business Intelligence” is limited, restricting, and honestly, it can be improved and expanded so that businesses are able to receive the best possible information and inspiration for making business decisions.

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Expanding the definition of Business Intelligence

In order to have a conversation about expanding the core definition of “Business Intelligence,” we have to start with the traditional definition of Business Intelligence (BI).

  • Business Intelligence is the process of identifying, extracting, and analyzing business data according to associated costs and incomes.

There also the commonly discussed subset of BI, Competitive Intelligence, which is typically defined as such.

  • Competitive Intelligence is the process behind early identification of risks and opportunities in the market.

The limitations of these definitions

While these definitions are certainly useful, and applicable within their self-defined parameters, we at AGBeat believe that they are fundamentally limited to a “left-brained” perspective1. That is to say that while academia has been working on understanding and integrating multiple intelligences for nearly three decades now, business seems to have lagged behind in this regard.

Interpersonal intelligence – also known as emotional intelligence – for example, may not factor into the traditional definition of business intelligence, but few would dispute that this “soft skill” can have a profound impact on business outcomes. Likewise, because we cannot measure intuition – that is, the right-brain’s innate ability to process patterns and therefore predict outcomes – we are unlikely to include it in any competitive intelligence process, useful though it may be.

However, much the way a musical prodigy can tie together an otherwise cacophonous collection of notes into a symphony – there are in fact “futurists” out there who consistently predict business trends.

Putting forth an alternative definition of business intelligence

In talking to BI professionals of great… well… intelligence, we were surprised to find that their definition of business intelligence was thus limited. They truly seem to focus, almost exclusively, on those processes that can be meticulously measured with current technology. Certainly, the problem with this approach is that it excludes the input of those whose abilities are beyond our ken – our business virtuosos, if you will. As such, AGBeat would like to put forth an alternative definition of business intelligence.

  • True Business Intelligence is all information, systems, and processes that help people make better business decisions.

Competitive Intelligence in turn, without having to be redefined, takes on a whole new meaning. To understand that science is bigger than our understanding of it is to allow oneself the opportunity to learn from undefined genius.

At the end of the day, that is why AG exists – to deliver business intelligence to you, in all of its forms. If we need to expand the definition in order to do that, that is exactly what we will do. Don’t get us wrong, we won’t be hiring an astrologer, Tarot card reader, or any other meta-physical prognosticator any time soon. What we will be doing is continuing to seek out and deliver the information and inspiration that helps you drive your business forward each and every day.

1 Note: for the time-being, we will set aside the debate within circles of neuroscience, as to whether or not the left-right brain theory – as we have come to accept it – is correct.

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46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. Tinu Abayomi-Paul

    April 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Great article. You said “n talking to BI professionals of great… well… intelligence, we were surprised to find that their definition of business intelligence was thus limited. They truly seem to focus, almost exclusively, on those processes that can be meticulously measured with current technology.”

    I’ve also noticed that many futurists, as well as BI professionals, assume that we have all the information we need to predict the future. Not true, and allowing the important variable of flux helps us plot strategic moves much better.

    For example, one may not have been able to predict that Google+ was coming, or the eventual weight of its impact (Search Plus Your World). But when mapping the social trend, realizing it would intersect with the trend in search towards personalization and contextual matches, even without specific knowledge, people watching that space who allow for possible flux in the manifestation of their predictions prepared their audience for that ultimate intersection.

    In the late Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Talents, they worshiped change as if it were God. Not to say anyone should go that far, but allowing for the resolution of the trend formula as a fluid entity instead of a fixed one is a much better answer that clinging to a static right/wrong model of trend plotting.

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How remote work has changed over the last decade

(BUSINESS NEWS) let’s reflect on how remote working and telecommuting has changed in recent years and look to how it will continue to change in the 2020s.

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As someone who often works remote, it’s interesting to see how much that means for work has evolved. The increase in commonality has been steady, and shows no signs of slowing down. Go Remotely has developed an insightful graphic showing the changes in trends regarding remote work over the years.

“For decades, the established economy dictated that you should pick one job, visit the same office for the next 40 years, and then retire,” reads the graphic’s intro. “However, recent remote working stats suggest the working world might be in for some revolutionary changes.”

From there, the graphic is broken down into five facets: Flexible Workspace Policy, Entrepreneurial Minds, Telecommuting is a Growing Trend, The Role of Companies in the Remote Working World, and The Future of Telecommuting.

With Flexible Workspace Policy, its suggested that telecommuting could be a solution for costly issues including lack of productivity caused by employee distractions, health problems, etc. It is said that employers lose $1.8 trillion annually due to these issues.

The end of 2018 found 35 percent of the US workforce working remotely. This is only expected to climb. Ten percent of employees don’t know if their company offers flexible work policies (this is something to check into!)

Bills and laws for virtual jobs passed by governments reflect the need for accessibility, economic stability, and emigration concerns. Companies with flexible work policies have reported seeing increases in productivity and profits. (Funny those both start with pro, no?)

With Entrepreneurial Minds, a few interesting things found include: remote workers are less likely to take off if they are sick, the majority reports better productivity when working alone, the majority reported lower stress levels. However, there is a problem with not being able to unplug after work which is an issue for some.

Telecommuting is a Growing Trend finds that there has been a seven percent increase between 2012 and 2016, with the majority (80-100 percent) reporting they work remotely. Industries seen embracing remote work include: transportation, computer/information systems/mathematical, arts/design/entertainment/sports/media, finance/insurance/real estate, law or public policy, community/social services, science/engineering/architecture, manufacturing or construction, healthcare, education/training/library, and retail.

The Role of Companies in the Remote Working World finds that the pros to hiring remote workers includes: finding talent outside of your geographic area, improves retention on work/life balance, increases productivity by decreasing commute time, and saves money by requiring less office space. The cons include lack of timeliness when it comes to receiving information from employers.

Finally, the Future of Telecommuting suggests that in 2020 the US mobile worker population will surpass 105 million (and will account for 72 percent of the US workforce). Hiring managers predict that telecommuting will increase tremendously, most skills will become even more niche over the next decade, and many think that 38 percent of their full-time workers will be working remotely in the next decade.

How do you feel about the increase in remote working and telecommuting?

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Business News

ClickUp team productivity app is gorgeous and wildly efficient

(BUSINESS NEWS) Seeking to improve your productivity and speed up your team, ClickUp is an inexpensive option for those obsessed with efficiency.

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Back again to obsess over productivity apps – ClickUp, is a project management tool seeking to knock the frustration out of PM. It’s getting some good reviews, so I gave it a try for a week by setting up my current job search as a project and getting a feel for the app. And as you’ve read in my other reviews, we will address features and design.

On the feature front, ClickUp offers a pretty standard set up of tools for a productivity app. What stands out first and foremost are the status options. In general, most productivity statuses are simple: not started, started, in progress, done, etc.

But ClickUp lets you set up custom statuses that match your workflow.

For example, if you’re doing instructional design projects, you may assign projects based on where they are flowing in an ADDIE model, or if you are a Realtor, you may have things cataloged by sold, in negotiation, etc.

Customization is king and custom status is the closest you get to building your own app. And if you like it simple, you don’t have to customize it. The assigned comments feature lets you follow up on specific comments that originate action items – which is useful in team collaborations.

You can also assign changes to multiple tasks at once, including changing statuses (I would bulk assign completion tasks when I finished applications that I did in batches). There a lot of features here, but the best feature is how the app allows you to toggle on and off features that you will or won’t use – once again, customization is front and center for this platform.

In terms of design and intuive use, ClickUp nailed it.

It’s super easy to use, and the concept of space is pretty standard in design thinking. If your organization uses Agile methodology, this app is ready for you.

In terms of view, you can declutter the features, but the three viewing modes (list, box, and board) can help you filter the information and make decisions quickly depending on what role you have on a board or project. There is also a “Me” board that removes all the clutter and focuses on your tasks – a great way to do focused productivity bursts. ClickUp describes itself as beautifully intuitive, and I can’t disagree – both the web app and mobile app are insanely easy to use.

No complaints here.

And the horizon looks good for ClickUp – with new features like image markup, Gannt charts (!!!!!! #nerdalert), and threaded comments for starts.

This application is great, and it’s got a lot of growth coming up to an already rich feature base. It’s free with 100MB of storage, but the $5 fee for team member per month that includes team onboarding and set up (say you’re switching from another platform) and Dropbox/Google Docs integration? That’s a bargain, Charlie.

ClickUp is on the way up and it’s got it all – features, a beautifully accessible UI, relentless customization, and lot of new and upcoming features. If you’re into the productivity platform and you’re looking for a new solution for your team, go check it out.

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Business News

Should you alter your business travel due to the Coronavirus?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Got a business trip coming up? Worried about the coronavirus spoiling those plans? Stay up to date and safe with this cool site!

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The Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University has created a website that tracks one of the biggest trends of 2020: the coronavirus. Also known as 2019-nCoV, this disease has already spread to over 40,000 confirmed cases worldwide, with over 900 deaths (as of when this article was published, anyway.)

Not to mention, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that we still don’t know exactly how the virus spreads from person-to-person. In fact, there’s quite a bit we don’t know about this disease and although some people are reported as recovered, it’s only a small fraction compared to how many are sick.

So, what’s so great about this tracker? Well, first of all, it updates in real time, making it easy to keep track of everything we know about confirmed cases of the coronavirus. It’s chock full of statistics and visuals, making the information easy to digest. Plus, with a map front and center, it lets you know exactly where there have been reported outbreaks – and how many people have been diagnosed.

Because the site sticks to cold hard facts like statistics and maps, it also means you can avoid the racism and general panic that’s accompanied news of this outbreak.

This is a great tool for staying informed, but it’s also extremely helpful if you’re going to be traveling for work. As the virus continues to progress, you’ll be able to see just how many cases of coronavirus there are in the areas you’re planning to visit, which will allow you to plan accordingly. Even if you don’t feel the effects, you can still risk passing it to other people.

(In fact, the CDC recommends those traveling from certain areas in China practice “social distancing” when they return to the US, avoiding public spaces like grocery stores, malls and movie theaters.)

Of course, if you have something planned several months from now, don’t cancel your conference plans just yet. A lot can happen in that amount of time, so avoid the urge to check the website every couple hours. It’s supposed to be a tool for staying informed, not staying stressed out.

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