Discover yourself factually with Individual Business Intelligence (IBI) - BI for Everyone

Companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon are trying very very hard to accumulate data about you at every touchpoint, with this accumulated data they want to know more about you, so that, in short, they can sell more to you and the circle you influence. Yes, there is nothing wrong in that, it's their business and they want to improve their business by providing better services and better products. These successful and popular companies and many other companies have realized quite some time back that data is the new gold/new oil/new money, i.e. data is an asset.

In contrast, have you as an individual ever imagined about you consciously accumulating data about yourself? data related to your physical/mental/emotional statuses, your activities, your life experiences and events in your life? Have you considered your own accumulated data as an asset to you and to your children? 

Why accumulate data?
But why should you consciously accumulate data about yourself and why should you consider your own accumulated data as an asset? 

Because you can use it to your advantage, to improve yourself, to become a better version of yourself, to reflect back upon yourself with data, to discover hidden trends and patterns about yourself, to make better decisions, to have the possibility to predict better about yourself, to manage your time better, to prioritize most important aspects of your life, to know more about yourself holistically based on the facts that you as an individual accumulate rather than relying on biased thoughts, beliefs, fortune teller or godman, to have the possibility to investigate about an experience like a dream or a déjà vu, to be able to pass on the accumulated asset (data) to your children. 

From simple things like possibility to calculate how many hours in a year you were happy/sad/angry/confused, know how many dreams of which type you had last year, know what percentage of money and time you spent on a yearly basis in watching movies/sports, compare your total happy hours trend across years, months, locations etc., ability to see a trend on your state of happiness, ability to set goals and targets like percentage increase in happiness in the next few years, to having a possibility to predict which day of the week works best for you or which location works best for you and which month of the year or trying to find correlation between hundreds of data points based on the data you accumulate about yourself. 

The possibilities with data are really too many. Data is like "Modelling clay". More clay, bigger models. And the variety of models you can make out of "Modelling clay" is limited only by your ideas. So, more ideas, more models, i.e. "More good data, bigger results" and "More ideas, more benefits".  As data is solely input/filled and accumulated by you, you can fully trust the data. These are just some of the reasons/benefits why you should start accumulating data about yourself. And this is definitely not for someone else to know you but for you to know yourself better with facts. Not just for commercial/materialistic improvements but for improvement of the life itself.

Want to know more?

Does the idea sound interesting or impossible or crazy or totally crap or brilliant or something else? just try Individual Business Intelligence (IBI) to know it. You have really nothing to lose but so much to gain. Every individual with a sane mind who wants to discover more about himself/herself and wants to improve can easily try it. The only thing that you really spend, is your time, i.e., about 5 minutes of your time on a daily basis for data accumulation. You don't have to be a business intelligence professional to understand and try. So please just continue reading.

OK, I am willing to try Individual Business Intelligence, but what exactly is Individual Business Intelligence and how do I get started with it? 

To save your time, I will jump directly into the definition and provide a simple tool for IBI to quickly enable you to try it.  Just go through the answers to the first two questions listed below. That should be enough for a start. 

For those who are interested in knowing more details please also read rest of the explanations given below. I hope that the list given below provides all the details and answers most of the questions. I have also tried to cover some basic aspects/questions assuming non techies would also be reading this. Techies can safely skip those questions that looks basic. If there are more questions then either email me or comment below and I will try to respond to you as soon as possible.
  1. What is Individual Business Intelligence (IBI)?
  2. How do I get started with IBI?
  3. Can you explain in detail about IBI-Data sheet?
  4. What are some of the do's and don'ts in the process of data accumulation?
  5. How do I know which data points I should be accumulating?
  6. How do I decide the level of data I should be accumulating?
  7. How do I decide if I need IBI or not?
  8. When can I start analyzing the data that I have accumulated?
  9. How much will IBI cost me?
  10. How can I make my data analysis more interesting and visualize the data?
  11. What are the benefits of Individual Business Intelligence?
  12. Why is it called Individual Business Intelligence? What is Business Intelligence (BI)? What does IBI have to do with BI?
  13. I have no idea about BI, can I use IBI?
  14. How will my children benefit from my data?
  15. Why should we accumulate data about ourselves? Can't we just remember the facts?
  16. What if I accumulate the data and I am dead before I get to use it? What happens to my data after my death?
  17. What if data gets into wrong hands?
  18. What if I like the idea but don't have the time or patience to do this? can my secretary or someone else input/fill my data?
  19. What if I like the idea but don't want to do it myself?
  20. What if I accumulated the data, analyzed the data and made predictions but the predictions don't come true?
  21. What if I don't like the idea of IBI?
  22. Why no companies have come up with this IBI concept till date?
  23. I don't think I live an important life, do I need to accumulate data about myself?
  24. I am already 50 years old, I haven't captured my data till now, is there any use now?
  25. How do I know I am using IBI successfully?
  26. My wish list for IBI
  27. Anoop, have you tried it yourself? did it work for you?
  28. Anoop, what is that you are gaining?
  29. Anoop, I think this is great, how can I help so that this reaches everyone?
  30. Disclaimer
Individual Business Intelligence (IBI)

Individual Business Intelligence (IBI) is the process of an individual deriving insights efficiently through data analysis of self-accumulated data and inherited accumulated data to discover more about the individual, find trends, patterns and correlations and enable better decision making based on facts in order to improve the life of the individual. IBI in short, is about you accumulating data about yourself and you making use of the self-accumulated and inherited accumulated data for your improvement. It is self-reflection with consciously captured own data. The process of IBI mainly includes data accumulation, data analysis to find trends, patterns, correlations and taking actions to improve yourself.

Self-accumulated data is data accumulated by the individual about the individual. Accumulation could be manual or automatic. Data here refer to all forms of data.
Inherited accumulated data is the data that a child inherits from parents. Unfortunately none of us in the current generation have inherited data from our parents as our parents did not consciously accumulate data like they accumulated money, property or gold i.e. basically wealth. However, once we accumulate data our children would be able to inherit it. To keep the definition of IBI constant for future, inherited accumulated data is also included in the definition of IBI. Otherwise, I guess that there would be new terms like Advanced IBI or Extended IBI which includes analysis of inherited data.

How do I get started with IBI?

For those who can already see through the benefits of IBI, for those who don't need any more details, for those who think a tool is necessary and for those who don't need detailed explanations just go ahead and follow these 11 steps. 

Download IBI Template (IBI Template   [Update:06-May-2017 -  New version of simplified template is here]) for free. This is a simple excel file with 4 lines of dummy data (please delete it) just to give you an idea about how IBI can be implemented. Screenshot of small part of the IBI template is given below just to give you an idea about content in the excel file. 

IBI, Individual BI, Individual Business Intelligence, discover yourself

  1. Note that there are hundreds of data points added in the excel, all of the data points will not be relevant to everyone. You have to choose and retain only those columns which is relevant to you. The template has date only till year 2020 just to reduce file size. As you progress the date columns can be easily extended by copy pasting all 4 years time data and making minor updates.
  2. Think deeply through your past, current and future situation i.e. gender, age, location, job, hobbies, habits, circle, interests, life experiences, events, specific regular activities etc., to come up with the data points you would like to accumulate about yourself. 
  3. Customize (delete/modify/add columns) IBI template file based on identified data points. 
  4. Define your own KPI's (key performance indicators). Two simple KPIs are already present in last two columns (Positive Total and Negative Total). 
  5. On the first day take time and retrospectively fill (past days) the data as accurately as possible to the extent you remember and then accumulate data every single day till you are physically able to do. Also, monitor your daily KPI's, for example, the Positive Total should keep increasing and Negative Total should keep decreasing day by day. 
  6. Start analyzing your accumulated data once you have sufficient data to find trends, patterns, correlations and find areas to improve.
  7. Try predicting based on identified trends and patterns and then check actuals vs predictions
  8. Set goals and targets based on identified improvement areas. 
  9. Plan the changes to be done in your life based on the identified correlations to achieve those goals and targets.
  10. Improve predictions with time, achieve goals and targets.
  11. Analyze data further to find next areas to improve, continue the cycle of data analysis, predictions, conscious changes, setting goals and achieving goals.
Please read the disclaimer before you start.

Can you explain in detail about IBI-Data sheet?
  1. IBI-Data sheet is the main sheet and this is where the data has to be captured, accumulated and data analysis is to be carried out. 
  2. IBI-Data sheet is the only sheet you really need. Notes sheet is just for your reference.
  3. In the IBI-Data sheet, in the column headers, there are two broad types; static data points type (first 10 columns) and dynamic data points type. 
  4. Static data points headers and the data are setup only once. You don't have to fill data for these on daily basis and this is obviously why it is called static data. 
  5. In the long list of dynamic data points type, some of the data point categories are common for all, i.e. these can be relevant to all of us irrespective of our situation for example Sleep and Dreams category. 
  6. Next set of data point category in dynamic data points type is specific to your situation, for coming up with your situation based columns you need to really think through very well, for example if you are an engineer you have different regular activities compared to a doctor or a professor or a student, if your focus is body building or improvement in communication skills then you need to have data points related to those topics as detailed as possible. 
  7. Note that the categories, events, activities, experiences, details in the template are not exhaustive. This template is just to give you an idea on how to capture and accumulate data with minimum time and effort. 
  8. The data points are flattened out instead of having it as name value pair to keep it simple for every type of user. 
  9. Creating the right column names (data points) is a one time setup and then you are ready to fill in the data. 
  10. This sheet is for capturing facts about your life experiences, activities, events and various statuses.
  11. As you would have already noticed value 1 is used to indicate Yes, 0 for No and blank for not applicable. 
  12. The automatically calculated totals are available in the row number 3.
  13. In the IBI-Data sheet rows and columns are view freezed with cell "C4" as reference. This is to ensure that all column headers, totals, date and day values are visible. In case the freeze is missing after download add the freeze at C4 for ease of use. 
  14. Additional columns such as moon phases are added to time data to give an idea that you can even do analysis of your data based on phases of the moon. E.g. Is full moon better for you than half moon or no moon? These large objects in the solar system play some role in our life, using data we can probably find to what extent they impact or influence or don't impact us individually.
  15. The special event category is to track any one-off events (e.g. birthday parties, marriages, flood, accidents, etc.).
  16. "Backfilled?" column value 1 indicates that the data was input/filled by you with a delay and not on the same day or next day as you regularly fill.
  17. "Filled on the day?" column value 1 indicates that the data was filled on the same day as you regularly fill and not with a delay.
  18. Two simple KPI's are already present in last two columns i.e. Positive Total and Negative Total columns. I have chosen some of the positive indicators and summed them up in the Positive Total and similarly chosen some of the negative indicators and summed them up in the Negative Total column. These two columns not only indicate performance but also can be used as a check to spot unintentional updates to the sheet, i.e. if you regularly update the sheet and you keep monitoring the totals on daily basis then you would notice if there is change in one of the totals.
  19. All of the columns can be split into as many columns as detailed as you want. For example if you want to capture more details about deja vu experience, you can add, deja vu experienced location in office/home/other places? Deja vu  experienced time of the days (morning, noon, evening, night) and so on.
  20. The last column "Track changes to IBI-Data Sheet" is to capture notes about changes to the sheet itself after you start using the sheet (i.e. after one time setup).
  21. IBI-Data sheet has been created in this simplified way for ease of use and ease of calculation. This is to ensure that even beginner in excel is able to use this. In BI we carry out dimensional modelling to arrange the data points better however that would be too technical and complex for general public to use. My aim is to ensure that general public is able to use and that is why the columns are flattened out.
What are some of the Do's and Don'ts in the process of data accumulation?
  1. On the first day/setup day retrospectively fill as many days as you can exactly remember the details. If you don't remember then don't fill with junk data.
  2. From second day onwards accumulate data as accurately as possible on daily basis at a regular time, if you are not able remember then don't fill it with wrong data. It's better to have lesser good data compared to more bad quality data. It is said "garbage in, garbage out". So if you fill with garbage data then you will get garbage results. In some cases I know that even garbage can be put to some use as someone's waste is someone else's raw material but the purpose for which the data is accumulated will not be served. So don't fill with wrong or junk data.
  3. Maintain consistency in the way data is captured. One is technical consistency like in the minutes columns ensure that you enter values in minutes and not in hours and the other is how you define some of the things like state of being happy. If you consider a certain level of pleasantness as happiness then always use that as the baseline/reference.
  4. At least accumulate at daily level on daily basis. You can also accumulate data at hourly level on daily basis but this would take more time of yours but would give you greater insights. Note that the more detailed data you accumulate, more benefits you will derive. For example, if you accumulate data at hourly level then you will be able to even find which hour of the day is best for you. 
  5. Secure your data. No one else should have access. Password protect your sheet. 
  6. Backup your file on daily basis. After you fill the data for the day save the file on your personal laptop/desktop and save a copy on online drives like google drive. Google drive has inbuilt versioning (30 days), make use of this free feature. It also helps you to access your file from anywhere and helps you to to keep it updated during your travel.
  7. Do it just before you go to bed or as soon as you are awake in the morning, don't postpone it.
  8. Data capture should become a daily routine like brushing your teeth and a "must do" task. Everything else other than life critical tasks should be less priority than this activity.
  9. If you find after some time that some data points don't make sense, make and retain a copy and delete the columns from the latest file. Add new columns based on needs, the data points are not fixed.
  10. Ensure that previously entered data doesn't get unintentionally updated. This is very important as it would be very difficult to know when the data has changed and once you know to find which data has changed unless you are familiar using a file compare tool.
  11. Do not do something that is not natural to you just to make an entry into the sheet.
  12. Data has to be captured point in time on as-is basis. Do not change data retrospectively. It is fine to disagree with your own views at a different point in time.
  13. Carry out data analysis with your data, analyze your data with your previous data and also with your previous generation data.
  14. Do not compare your data with someone else's (not inherited) data for understanding yourself. To understand yourself you just have to look into your data. Each person has their own way of looking at things. If you compare then it is again relative and not absolute. 
  15. Everyday fill in the data for each of the columns. In case you need to add a new column add it and start accumulating data for that column from that day on wards. Make an entry in the "Track changes to IBI-Data sheet" column against the date you added the column. If you remember and are able to retrospectively fill the values for newly added column go ahead and update it. 
  16. Use 1 for "Yes" and 0 for "No". If both 1 and 0 don't make sense then leave it blank, for example if you have not read a book on a certain day then you don't have to fill in the column that asks did you like the book (1 would mean Yes, 0 would mean No, however you have not read any book so 1 or 0 would not be appropriate) so just leave it blank.  This convention helps in easily summing up correctly.
How do I know which data points I should be accumulating?

There are 3 approaches of looking at which data points to accumulate:
  1. Accumulate every possible data about yourself without any specific focus. Later when you have time and interest you will analyze the accumulated data and discover trends, patterns and any correlations and decide what to do with the results.
  2. Accumulate data about a specific field of interest or for specific purpose. Example, If you want to be better at something such as playing a sport, becoming a better speaker, better husband/wife, better dad/mom then accumulate every data about that aspect of life. Set targets and track if you are getting better.
  3. Combination of above two approaches. Accumulate detailed data about focus areas (areas of your interest) and all possible data about yourself at a higher level of detail.
My recommendation is third approach. You never know when which data can come handy and at the same time you want more detailed data on some of the focus areas.

How do I decide the level of data I should be accumulating?

This is really tough to answer, For every event/activity/experience there are so many data points and level of data that can be collected and it is really difficult to provide a correct answer. For example, for an activity/experience like watching a movie we can come up with 100s of data points.
  • Details about movie that you watched like language (every language that you watch can be listed), certification, director, main actor,  year released, no of songs - each of these can split into separate columns
  • Date watched
  • Length of movie
  • Genre (Action, comedy, drama or message oriented )
  • How did you watch? Cinema hall or at home or on a plane?
  • Did you like it or not?
  • Was it the first time you watched it? If not how many times have you watched it before?
  • Did you watch it alone or with someone else?
  • How long did it take you to reach the cinema?
  • Overall hours spent to watch this movie 
  • Was there an intermission?
  • Did you understand the movie?
  • How much did you pay to watch the movie?
  • Was the cinema hall good in terms of sound systems, acoustics, seating arrangements and food? This can be split into separate more detailed points.
  • Were you comfortable at the cinema / home while watching the movie?
  • How far is the cinema from your place?
  • How did you travel to the cinema?
  • Was the movie worth the money and time?
  • Will you watch this movie again?
  • Was there a message in the movie?
  • Why did you choose to watch this movie? 
  • Did you eat something during the movie?
  • Did you fall asleep while watching the movie?
  • What's your rating of the movie on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 highest)?
  • Would you recommend this movie to a friend or family? This can be again split in more details.
  • Do you want to watch this movie again with someone specific? Who? Why?
  • Is the language of the movie same as your native language?
  • Was there a trailer for the movie? 
  • If yes, did you like the trailer of the movie?
  • What do you think should be the correct certification for this movie?
  • Do you think this movie is similar to any other movie? If yes, which one?
and we can go on like this with many more data points. 

See what I mean? There are 100s of data points that can be collected. So it totally depends on you on which aspect you are interested. Now, if you collect all of the above listed data points you would be able to answer most of the questions about yourself related to watching movies and you would be able to check for correlations between many data points. You now must be thinking, but what kind of questions can this answer about me? just to give a sense of it, I will list some random and simple questions which probably are relevant to almost everyone in the world. Go through these random and simple questions and check if you remember facts (no guesses) about you.
  • Do you know exactly how many movies you have watched in the year 2006? 
  • How many movies of different genre and different language have you watched in the year 2006? 
  • Which genre and language did you like the most in 2006? 
  • How much total time did you spend watching different genre and different language movies in the year 2006? 
  • How many movies did you watch alone? How many with friends and family? 
  • How many at the cinema vs home? 
  • Do you now like a genre and language different from a genre and language that you liked in 2006? 
  • How many movies of your favourite actor/director did you watch in 2006 ?
  • Are you able to compare experience of watching movies in 2006 to watching movies in 2016? 
  • In which year have you watched the most number of movies? How much time and money did you spend in 2006 vs 2016? 
  • Is there any correlation between you falling asleep in the cinema and mode of transport to the cinema or the food that you eat?
  • Do you now think you could have made better use of the time and money spent on watching movies? 
  • Do you want to spend less time watching movies and doing something that you consider better for your life?
All of the above questions and many more can be answered based on the data points listed above. And when "Watching Movie" data is combined with other data you can get information about percentage of time and money spent on watching movies. So if you are a very frequent movie watcher then all of the data points makes sense. And on the other hand, if you are someone who never watches movies there is no point in having these headers in the IBI-Data sheet and wasting your time filling 0s and scrolling across through the sheet. If you watch just couple of movies in a year then it can be treated as special events. So the level of details to be captured and accumulated is mainly based on you, your regular activities, your interests, etc. 

Note that this was just an example to make the point clear about level of detail to be captured and accumulated, some of you who don't watch movies may consider it trivial but the point is you can apply the same technique to every aspect of your life to identify the level of detail to be captured and get corresponding benefits. In general, more detailed data accumulation is better.

How do I decide if I should use IBI or not?

There are many many uses of IBI as described in the above sections, if you are still undecided think about few simple questions given below;
  • When do you usually experience Deja vu? Is there a pattern? How many times did you exactly experience it in the last 1 year?
  • How many dreams did you see in your sleep each year in the last 5 years? Did you notice a pattern for your dreams? Is there a pattern?
  • Which year were you the happiest? Are you happier now than before? How can you really compare if you have not tracked? 
  • How many ideas did you generate in the last year? Are there particular days in the month or week or activity that you do when you get new ideas?
  • Are there some days when you sell the most?
  • Are you improving day by day in all aspects?
  • Are you able to look at your life holistically or have you got caught up in the rat race?
  • Do you want to go deep in the life aspects or just remain at the surface level?
Do you want to understand more about such things in your life? Do you want to have the possibility to investigate further? I think IBI is one of the factual ways to answer such questions. People from different spheres of life have been looking at these aspects in different ways; physicists with physics, mathematicians with maths, spiritual leaders with spirituality and religious people with religion. For us, in this digital age, we have a chance to freshly look at the aspects of life using a new approach that is using our own data which we cannot dispute as we are the ones who capture it. In all other cases someone else is telling you but in IBI you try to get it yourself.
Even if you don't get anything from it it's still not a waste of time because you have your data at your finger tips and can pull it out whenever you want to use or your children can use your data and see if they have same patterns and trends as you and avoid any mistakes you have done or follow the right path you have chosen or probably even take preventive measures against some diseases running in the family.

On a lighter note, I always see some people (adults) on public transport playing dumb games on their mobile phones just randomly pressing different parts of the touch screen  with no logic involved to kill time, instead maybe they can try a game of data analysis with a goal to find some correlation.

When can I start analyzing the data that I have accumulated? When can I start seeing results?
As mentioned above, data is like "Modeling clay". The more you have the better. Of course here I mean clean data. As part of data accumulation process you are collecting data. This is like making the "Modeling clay" so that you can make models later. Once you have enough clay, i.e. once you have enough data you can start analyzing the data. I think, for data captured on daily basis, from third month on wards you can start analyzing the data. If there are weekly trends this should already start showing up. If there are monthly trends it should begin to show up but it would be too early for arriving at conclusions on monthly trends with just two months of data. The more amount of good quality data you have, the better will be the result of the data analysis. Some may notice a pattern in couple of months and for others it could take years. Don't compare yourself with anyone else based on data or results. If you start getting some results from IBI and if it's OK to share in public I would request you to comment so that it motivates others.

How much will IBI cost me?

It will not cost you anything in terms of money. Only your minimal time is required. The excel tool template is created by me and downloadable for free. Google provides free 15 GB storage on the google drive. Even if data is captured at daily level for 50 years the number of records would still be less than 40000 records so the file we will be dealing is quite small and storage shouldn't be a problem at all and no extra storage required. 

Only about 5 minutes of your time on daily basis for about 80 to 100 data points. If you want to capture and accumulate data related to more data points then more time is required but it has its own benefits and it is worth the time. So the time you spend on data capture has to be considered as a good investment for life. And actually when you start IBI you will notice that you are cutting down on your bad habits of wasting time and that you are managing your time better. So, you, on the whole end up saving more time and gain more.

One time setup (may be an hour or two) to create the right set of data points.
Data analysis time - Depends on how much analysis you want to do and how often you do.

How can I make my data analysis more interesting and visualize the data?

Nice charts/graphs can be done within the excel tool itself. There are also many data visualization tools (some are free) that can be used to easily visualize the data in an excel. One of my current favorite is MicroStrategy Desktop. You can try MicroStrategy Desktop, which is a free data discovery tool. It can be downloaded for free from Micorstrategy's website .
If you have suggestions for any other tools or interesting visualizations please comment.

What are the benefits of Individual Business Intelligence?

As described in the introduction of this article, There are several benefits of Individual Business Intelligence that one can think of. Some are listed below;
  • The main benefit when we look at a larger perspective is that individuals can benefit from this holistically, when individuals improve, the society and the world at large will naturally improve. So we, our children and future generations get to live in a better world. 
  • Ability to use our data to our advantage.
  • Helps us become a better version of ourself.
  • Helps us to reflect back upon ourself with data.
  • Helps us to discover hidden trends and patterns about ourself.
  • Supports us to make better decisions.
  • Provides us the possibility to predict better about ourself.
  • Helps us to manage our time better.
  • Helps us prioritize most important aspects of our life.
  • Helps us to know more about ourself holistically based on the facts that we as an individual accumulate rather than relying on biased thoughts, beliefs, fortune teller or god-man.
  • Provides us the possibility to investigate further about life experiences, activities, statuses and events.
  • Our children will be able to benefit from our accumulated data as this is also a type of wealth. 
I will go one more step further and say that if most of us across the world use IBI, we should see reduction in number of crimes, reduction in number of suicides, improvements in health of people as people will monitor their individual life performance on a daily basis and will not be in a state of shock when a bad event occurs, people will be better prepared handling events in life. Each of us would know who we are, what our capabilities are and what we are not from our own data. We would not expect something that we don't deserve. I am sure others will come up with many more use cases and future generations will come up with so much more. Feel free to share your ideas. Consider this as a worldwide project and that we are doing our part.

Why is it called Individual Business Intelligence? What is Business Intelligence? What does IBI have to do with Business Intelligence?

Business here takes the meanings "One's rightful or proper concern or interest", "A person's concern", "An activity that someone is engaged in" and "Something involving one personally" and does not mean a commercial establishment. Managing our life is our primary business, that includes our family, friends, job, education and everything else to do with our life. 

I come from Business Intelligence background and when I got this concept of using Business Intelligence for individual's benefit I started thinking about various nice names like Individual Intelligence (seems to be opposite of collective intelligence) and Personal Intelligence (deals with personality) among others. Unfortunately these words already mean something else and they have totally different meaning to what I wanted to achieve (individuals use BI for individual's improvement). So, for lack of any other existing nice word I call this concept as Individual Business Intelligence (IBI).  

In IBI I takes importance, till now only business (as in "commercial establishment") took importance, I would like us to shift our focus a bit and focus on the "I". In the context of IBI, individual is the entity or the subject, activities carried out by the individual are the events, managing individual's life is the business. It's each individual's business to take care of each of their life. Each one of us in our right senses would like to be a better version of us day by day, we really want to improve ourselves on day to day basis. IBI gives us one way to improves ourselves. On a lighter note, in some of the cultures people are informed that there is someone sitting in the heaven keeping accounts of our life, I would rather prefer us to keep our accounts here on Earth with us and we deal with our problems and solve it. It's time we give importance to ourselves than others. It's time we focus on our own data.

For those of you, who are not familiar with the concept of BI (Business Intelligence) check my BI Blog for details. For those, in a hurry and need short definition of BI, here it is, in short, Business intelligence is about deriving information and insights from data efficiently to enable better decision making in order to improve business. Data could be the data generated from the operations of the business or external data and it could be in any form and size. Tools, technologies and methodologies to implement BI doesn't matter. Business Intelligence covers all businesses and is a generic term, So, I would like to place IBI as a small subset but an extremely important one specific to individuals under BI.

I have no idea about BI, Can I use IBI?

Yes, sure. You don't need to have any idea about BI to start with IBI. IBI is highly simplified in its basic form. Once you accumulate the data the possibilities are unlimited. You can gradually build experience on data analysis and get better at it and try advanced analytics.

How will my children benefit from my data?

There is so much of garbage data and biased information getting filled out there in the social networking sites and other web sites. How will your children easily get meaningful and trustworthy data? You need to accumulate it and give it. They will be able to compare their data with their previous generations data and check if there are any common patterns, this may help them in preventing them from doing the same mistake that previous generation have done, prevent them from getting some diseases that previous generation was subjected to because of bad habits. This may help them to understand situations better and help them be prepared to face situations. 

When people lived in joint families, children got to know about their family members and learnt from them on a daily basis, and this was normal way of living. However, in the current times when both the parents are working, especially those parents who themselves are staying away from their parents, the children hardly get to be with their parents or grand parents, so they hardly get to know them by experience, the least these parents can do is to give useful data to the children so that the children know their parents better. Also there is a possibility that the parents start spending more time with children based on self-reflection with data. Once lot of them do this, all of them will have to do this. This might sound extreme but it looks like "poor kid" in the future, will not only be someone who does not have money or property but also one who does not have accumulated data from the parents to inherit it. Our previous generations considered property, gold and money as asset, They acquired it and we inherited from them. If you agree that data is an asset don't we have to pass on to our children this asset? Our previous generations did not pass it on to us as they were not aware and did not have means to accumulate data, but, now that we understand that data is an asset and have the ability to accumulate data easily, we shouldn't be doing the same mistake. We should make all efforts to accumulate it and pass it on to our children.

Why should we accumulate data about ourselves in a tool? Can't we just remember the facts in our mind and use it when we need it?

Our memory is like cache memory isn't it? The most recent thing is fresh and with full of details and can be quickly queried and results fetched back when required again, whereas something that happened 10 years ago is either fully forgotten or remembered with just high level of detail. Even for special occasions you may remember the date and time but not the colour of dress you wore on that day, or the shoe you wore, or the exact words you used unless if you have continuously tried to refresh the memory with videos or photos. One part is about storing so much information and the other is about the possibility to carry out data analysis.

Try this small mental exercise, imagine 3 points (dots) and visualize drawing connections (straight lines) between every point to every other point, a total of 3 connections can be drawn, easy isn't it? Now try with 5 points, 10 connections can be drawn, getting slightly difficult but still managed to do it mentally. Now try with 10 points, how many connections can be made? Are you able to visualize the 45 connections mentally? The number of connections follows the formula n(n-1)/2 where n is the number of points. So if you now consider each of these points as data points and if you have 100 data points and you want to find connections/relationships/correlations (450) between each of the data points it's going to be extremely complex, difficult and time consuming if not impossible for a human mind. This is why it makes sense to capture the data and accumulate it in a way it can be easily analyzed and visualized.

What if I accumulate the data and I am dead before I get to use it? What happens to my data after my death?

Try to use it every single day. Define and monitor your daily life KPIs. Just like other wealth, your spouse/children should/would inherit it. If there are no family members, the data could probably go to the government or to some research foundations. Just like you have nominee for bank accounts, nominate someone for inheriting your data.

What if data gets into wrong hands?

Ideally there shouldn't be much use of your data for someone else as they cannot get use it to their benefit. But make all arrangements (password protect, encrypt, etc.) such that your data is safe so that no one gets access to your data and uses your data against you. Stealing data is already considered a crime and law should take its course. 

What if I like the idea but don't have the time or patience to do this? can my personal secretary or someone else input my data?

If someone comes up with affordable sensor based automation which is able to exactly capture data related to every data point we want to capture, including our happy, sad, angry etc state, our mistakes, our hours spent on various activities, then yes as it would save some time of ours. Otherwise, I think we should not rely on automation or personal secretary or family members to enter our data. You and only you can fill the right data and when you are consciously entering data you are already going through self-reflection. This data is about experiences, your state of mind and no else would know this to the extent you know. Maybe you can use some time from the time you spend on social networking to input the data.

What if I like the idea, I am convinced it is good but still don't want to do it myself?

Take your time but not so much that you start missing your data. For now, just do your bit, share the concept of IBI with your circle. Let others make use of it.

What if I accumulated the data, analyzed the data and made predictions but the predictions don't come true?

First check the quality and quantity of data and ensure that you have captured and accumulated good amount of good quality data and that no unintentional changes have happened to the accumulated data. Check if your analysis approach is correct. Check if your prediction method is correct and still valid. There are many concepts in predictive modelling which you can learn and try if you are interested. Even after checking everything and ensuring that the correct approach is used if predictions don't come true, don't worry, at the end of the day, predictions are not actuals, they are calculated, forecasted, data based estimations about future, all  of it may not become true, it may not be exact, but it may give you a direction. The chances of predictions becoming true are higher when you do it with sufficient data with right modeling techniques, and even if the predictions don't come true, you don't lose much as you would have in the process of data analysis got to know few more things about you. 

What if I don't like the idea of IBI?

I am sure some might think this is brilliant and try it right away and some might think this is crazy and not realistic. I am sure that everyone will realize it sooner or later in one way or other. So if you currently don't like it, just ignore it as if it never existed, let those who are interested pursue it.

Why no companies have come up with this IBI concept till date?

I have spent 10+ years in BI and I have never heard of this concept from any company. And as far as my search in Google search, I couldn't find anywhere any mention of this concept. I don't know why none of the big technology companies came up with this concept. Maybe they are in the rat race and completely forgot the individual side of life. Maybe they don't see a business case for them. Maybe they only saw how companies could benefit from individual's data and not interested in how an individual can benefit from  his / her own data.

I don't think I live an important life, do I need to accumulate data about myself?

I don't know, so I tend to believe each life is important and significant. Each one of us are heroes of our life. Each one of us are unique and each one of us have our own story. Generally for convenience people are grouped and stereotyped without the understanding that every individual who has a sane mind can think for himself/herself and should be treated as an individual and not as a group. So go ahead and accumulate data about yourself, maybe when you accumulate data you tend to improve yourself and feel better about yourself.

I am already 50 years old, I haven't captured and accumulated my data till now, is there any use now?

Yes, there is. Go ahead and start capturing and accumulating data, age doesn't matter. You could make use of the data for rest of your life and your children could benefit from it as well. Also, if you have free time and good memory you could probably retrospectively fill data and see if you get better understanding about yourself. 

How do I know I am using IBI successfully?

With the daily monitoring of life KPI's you should be able to see if you are improving on daily basis. Make necessary changes to improve yourself. Compare your current data with past data and see if you are a better person now. And see if you know more about yourself now than you did before you started with IBI. This should tell you if you are using IBI successfully.

My wish list for IBI for the future

My wishes are not small by any means.
  • Full Automation. Sensors should be able to sense our feelings, state of mind, experiences, time spent and capture required data automatically on hourly basis or minute basis so that we don't have to manually capture data and we can have the most detailed level of data captured about all the data points we want without considering the complexity of storage, processing or analysis.
  • Software programs runs through the captured data and comes up with interesting visualizations and relationships/correlations between data points and multiple choices are provided based on predictions.
  • Companies/research organizations/scientists/medical researchers come up with ways to take our non personalized trust worthy good quality data to carry out research and are able to come up with breakthroughs.
  • If above wishes looks little far-fetched, then as a start, companies can come up with collaboration website where we can easily input data, check results, create great visualizations, do some comparisons with non personalized data against benchmarked values, for example number of hours of sleep on an average for a person in the age of X, living at location Y, working as Z. 
  • IBI volunteers who teach this concept to computer illiterate parents or neighbors or someone from their city / village or whichever groups they can access. 
  • Schools add this as a basic teaching for kids in the primary school (4th or 5th grade) so that they can start early with data accumulation. Till that age parents could probably accumulate some of the data on behalf of the kid.
  • General public get to know BI because of IBI, computer illiterate people get to know computers because of IBI.
  • At least 50 percent of the world's population use this in one form or other.
  • Crimes reduce, suicides reduce, traffic offences reduce, people start self-reflecting more and make a better world right here.
  • Users of IBI will come up with interesting revelations, new  tools and techniques.
  • Users make community, for example - people who were born on the same day, same time and location and see how their data compares (again non personalized) and with an intention to understand life better and not to compete with others.
Anoop, have you tried it yourself? Did it work for you?

Yes and No for both the questions. I have done it in bits and pieces but not such a full fledged one. At one point, I collected information of all the movies I had watched and my reviews on each of them just out of interest. At another point, I collected information about my daily physical exercises. Even now since almost a year I keep my WhatsApp status with a series of numbers that reminds me about my best performance in exercises like pushups, pullups etc. Maintained data about countries and cities I have visited. Sorted (by location, by people) all of my photos from all the trips ever made into easily findable folders. When I did stock trading I captured on daily basis my net worth. I have not captured data like happy hours, dreams, deja vu etc., but I have always felt I should write down my dreams as these are easy to forget within an hour if I don't say it out. The data regarding physical exercise really helped me because I could keep a track and I kept improving. For example, if I did 35 pushups one day then mentally I would know that next time I would be able to do more than 35. 

So in a way data accumulation has worked for me in a small way, but now, I plan to start afresh with the new template and customize it with all the data points I want and start using it. 

I could have waited for a few years, tested the concept fully and then share this concept but that would mean all of those people who never thought about this and would probably never think about this without this article would miss the chance to capture their data for a few years. So I think we should consider this as a trial project on ourself and just do it. What is the worst that can happen? we have our accumulated data and we have spent 5 minutes from daily life. So no harm in trying and I plan to try it. I don't think anyone ever accumulated their own data like this before, so we would be the first generation doing this and be proud of it. People have tried to know more through maths, physics, religion etc., lets try to know more through data.

Anoop, what is that you are gaining?

If this concept works then it's a good feeling of satisfaction that I have done something useful in my own small way for my generation and future generation based on the experience I have gained over the years in my field of Business Intelligence (BI). Great feeling of bringing IBI and BI to everyone. Feeling of having simplified BI for general public. Everyone is talking and focusing on big data, I want us to focus on our data first. And as mentioned earlier, I believe when we know what we are and what we are not, we will not expect what we don't deserve. And IBI is one of the ways of knowing us. This, as stated in the benefits should reduce crime rates, reduce suicide rates, should be good for the society, reduce health issues. So just doing my bit for the worldI write with my mind and heart at the same time. You probably noticed both solution oriented technical and personal side of me. So I guess some statements may appeal to your heart but at the same time could look like nonsense to your mind and some the other way around. 

Anoop, I think this is great, how can I help so that this reaches everyone?

If you like it, share it in various ways ( Facebook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, etc.). If you are an influential person then bring this into schools at an early age. Help someone to use excel or use computer to fill IBI-Data sheet. If you are representing a tech company then come up with tools for easy data accumulation, analysis and visualizations. It is not necessary to follow the same template or tool or methodology, whichever works can be used. We just need to ensure that more people are into self-reflection with facts. 


IBI is not a tried and tested concept. It is currently in testing. I am sure this is one of the best ways to go about making improvements in life but I cannot give any guarantees. When you try IBI (both the concept and the tool) you are doing it with your own interest and freewill. Ideally there shouldn't be any disadvantages of using IBI. But in the event of any disadvantages to you it is completely your making. 


  1. Nice idea . Can give it a try..

  2. Today i am really happy and excited too. As i come to know such a important information. I really inspired by this idea.

  3. New version of the sample template (IBI Data Sheet) can be found here Sample template is changed based on the experience of entering data for the last 2 months on daily basis.

  4. For a short video on IBI see

    For latest IBI Template check

    All future updates on this topic will be on

  5. For latest updates please see the posts with label IBI

  6. I read through it all and i find this topic very interesting. I am not very disciplined at doing things daily but willing to try and cultivate the habit because this seems more like an adventure and the excitement of the results of my IBI overtime may just be the driving force that keeps me going. This same data the big organizations are working hard to find about us. For example, i wear a gear S3 smartwatch which tracks my daily steps, heart rate, sleep pattern, calories lost, routine exercises, keeps track of my appointments etc. This is just a subset of my data with Samsung. Microsoft wants me to log in with my microsoft account by so doing try to get cortana to understand a bit more about me and then of course know my location and get more information about my browsing pattern etc Same with Amazon keeping record of my buying habits as well as Google the leader of all for purposes of SEO and customized advert and sales.

    We have indirectly not kept track of this data for our own IBI but unconsciously or consciously provided it to other companies to use for their intelligence and commercialization and to better provide service to us. I wonder if it is possible to request my data from Microsoft, Samsung, Amazon, Facebook and Google because they already have lots of it? I will try it and also tell someone about it too.

    1. Thanks for your comment, I hope this inspires many more around you to start collecting their own data. If I may suggest couple of tips based on own experience

      1) Better to do it (data collection) as the first thing in the morning. Analysis can be done whenever you like. After a few days it just becomes a part of our life that we will not forget to do it. In general people say that if we do anything for 41 days it sticks on. Give it a try for 41 days continuously.
      2) Start taking notes on mobile or book that you always carry about things you think you may forget to enter into the IBI Data capture sheet. For example an idea (however silly or crazy it may look), or a mistake, just note it down in a piece of paper or on mobile phone, this will clear mindspace and give space for new thoughts and new ideas.

      And on requesting data from the biggies like Microsoft, Samsung, Amazon, Facebook and Google, I think with newer and better Data Protection rules (for example in the EU GDPR) these companies are obliged to provide us our data on request, let us know what they capture, what they use it for, in which applications our data is used and so on.

      All the best for your start in IBI. If you find some interesting trends that you can share publicly, without giving away personal information, to inspire someone, please do.

  7. For latest templates see


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