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Friday, March 25, 2011

A Slice of the History of Executive Information Systems

I have been doing some exploration of Executive Information Systems (EIS) and BI, which I was involved in for a number of years, and was sent this excerpt: -

"Executive Information Systems (EIS) evolved from single user model-driven Decision Support systems and improved relational database products. The first EIS used pre-defined information screens and were maintained by analysts for senior executives. For example, in fall of 1978, development of an EIS called Management Information and Decision Support (MIDS) system began at Lockheed-Georgia (cf., Houdeshel and Watson, 1987). Beginning in about 1990, data warehousing and On-Line Analytical Processing (OLAP) began broadening the realm of EIS and defined a broader category of Data-Driven DSS (cf., Dhar and Stein, 1997). Nigel Pendse (1997) claims the first Executive Information System product was Pilot Software’s Command Center. He notes both multidimensional analysis and OLAP had origins in the APL programming language and in systems like Express and Comshare’s System W. Nigel Pendse of the OLAPReport.com has written and updates a much more detailed history of the origins of OLAP products.

Nylund (1999) traces the developments associated with Business Intelligence (BI) to Procter & Gamble’s efforts in 1985 to build a DSS that linked sales information and retail scanner data. Metaphor Computer Systems, a spinoff of researchers from Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), built the early P&G DSS. Metaphor alumni latter founded many of the BI vendors: Richard Tanler founded Information Advantage and Katherine Glassey co-founded Brio Technologies. The term BI is a popularized, umbrella term supposedly introduced by Howard Dresner of the Gartner Group in 1989. BI describes a set of concepts and methods to improve business decision making by using fact-based support systems. BI is sometimes used interchangeably with briefing books, report and query tools and executive information systems. Business Intelligence systems are data-driven DSS."

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