A watershed article was published in the July, 1997, edition of Wired magazine. It was entitled "The Long Boom" by Peter Schwartz and Peter Leyden and discussed the powerful forces in motion today that have led up to a global economic boom. A truly global economy is emerging, brought on in part by the end of the Cold War and the breaking down of borders--the fall of the Berlin wall, the collapse of the Soviet empire, the creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the development of the European Economic Community, among other events. The authors discussed the array of new technologies that have contributed to this phenomenal integration and expansion. In my opinion, these changes have generated a related worldwide technology trend--global business intelligence. Brought about in large part by the emergence of the Internet, it is now possible for a company to obtain insight from information that knows no borders.

There are three "waves" of business intelligence. Business intelligence had its start with access to data within a particular function within the organization. Enterprise-wide business intelligence was the next wave, bringing the ability to share data among functions, but still within the organization. Now, with global business intelligence, fundamentally enabled by the Internet, we can access information external to our organizations, which can be used to achieve competitive advantage. We can break down barriers to trading data, thus extending the reach of our organizations.

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