I attended a very informative seminar, hosted by Business Objects. Claudia Imhoff of Intelligent Solutions kicked off the seminar with a superb discussion of the general business intelligence concept and how it has evolved since the advent of data warehouses in the late 1980's. I particularly appreciated the opening description of Business Intelligence:
BI is an environment in which business users receive data that is reliable, consistent, understandable, easily manipulated, and flexible.
BI analyses yield an overall understanding of where the business has been, where it is now, and where it will be in the near future.
This fits very well with what I believe is a major aspect of knowledge management: getting information to the people who need it so they can analyze and make decisions.
The rest of the seminar was filled your standard vendor presentation of the latest version of BusinessObjects' software. We got the general flavor of a small set of features in the software, and we are presumably left wanting more. At some point vendors will figure out how to connect these presentations to their audience, rather than showing off a few interesting features and answering a slew of technical questions.