Business intelligence, the art of extracting insights from data, has tended to get its insights mainly, if not exclusively, from the data within a company’s walls.
Businesses continue to have most of their private data in spreadsheets or relational database systems. Business applications such as ERP, CRM and PLM systems, too, tend to deal mainly with private data.
Why has business intelligence, or company intelligence, been based almost solely on private data? Because that was all companies had access to.
The Internet quickly and dramatically changed that. Siloed individuals and companies could instantly become members of a worldwide community. Social media and blogging exponentially expanded the amount of data available online. In an amazingly short time, detailed information on virtually any topic became available to anyone with a personal computer, smart phone or tablet.
Data on the Internet — public data — started to become part of what companies could use to more effectively build, market and sell their products. Business intelligence, based solely on private data, could be richly supplemented by market intelligence – insights gleaned from data outside the company.
True, public data is usually less structured and harder to glean insights from than private data. Private data can be stored in the way most useful to its owner, while public data can be relatively raw or formatted in unfamiliar ways. And there is so much of it! Still, these days, one thing every business app must do is to integrate private and public data.
We can argue about definitions. Some might say business intelligence consists of insights derived from both private and public data. That’s just a matter of words.
Our point is that we see public data as absolutely essential to any company wanting to build, market and sell products most effectively in today’s ultra-social, data-rich world.
And we call the art of extracting insights from public data, Market Intelligence.