5 Ways Business Intelligence Leaders Define Organizational Strategy: How to Prepare for the What’s Next Economy

A young woman working in BI helps define organizational strategy
A young woman working in BI helps define organizational strategy

Despite their ubiquitous gecko and billions of dollars in revenue, insurance giant Geico had a problem. Their recruiting process for the 5,000 roles they fill each year was rigorous, but it had a major gap in analytics that looked at important factors like interviewer feedback. This led to wasted time and money as inefficiencies made the hiring process take longer than it seemed like it should.

Company leaders decided to try a business intelligence solution that would help them gather, store, and learn from recruiting data. After just 15 weeks of using the software, Geico saw a 15% improvement in recruiting effectiveness and a 15% reduction in recruiting costs.

Geico isn’t the only company that has seen the benefits of business intelligence shaping strategic objectives. Access to unforeseen amounts of data, and the creation of ever-evolving solutions that assist in analyzing and interpreting that data, have transformed the ways that business intelligence informs organizational strategy. Rather than relying upon anecdotes about company history or a few manually produced reports, business leaders now have a world of knowledge at their fingertips.

Business intelligence informs critical company decisions, influences organizational strategy for the future, and helps organizations achieve greater outcomes. By understanding the nature and usage of business intelligence, and by considering some of the primary ways that business intelligence leaders determine strategic objectives, organizations can make stronger decisions that benefit everything from their internal company culture to the satisfaction of their customers.


What Is Business Intelligence?

Professionals working in the field of business intelligence (BI) perform several key tasks that provide their companies with useful, actionable insights, including:

  • Business analytics
  • Data mining
  • Data visualization
  • Data tools and infrastructure
  • Best practices for data-driven decision making

The business intelligence professional will integrate the above steps into a step-by-step process:

  • Gather, aggregate, remodel, and store data 
  • Analyze data for trends and outliers
  • Report findings through charts, graphs, and other visualization methods
  • Adjust strategic decisions according to data insights 

Through these tasks and steps, business intelligence professionals empower their companies to increase efficiencies, better serve their customers, and measure organizational success.


Transforming the Workweek: How BI Changed the Game for Spear Education

Spear Education, a continuing education leader in the field of dentistry, had a major gap in their telecommunications. Their phone system could not record phone calls and had no connection to a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Company leadership decided to integrate their call center software with a BI solution in order to create, organize, and draw insights from records of customer interactions. 

The results were staggering. Spear Education estimates that their business intelligence solution saved 35 hours of customer service representative time per week. The representatives now spend that time placing an additional 4,000 outbound calls each week.


Tailored from Head to Toe: BI solutions led styling service Stitch Fix to $2 billion in annual net revenue

Leader in online personal shopping Stitch Fix wanted to reduce the number of clothing returns they were receiving from customers. They also wanted to increase their number of repeat customers and cultivate more word-of-mouth recommendations from their customers. 

Through a BI solution, Stitch Fix began to collect relevant data on each customer, so that their recommendations over time would become more and more personalized. That way, customers would be less likely to return items since the clothing they received was chosen based on their prior feedback to previous items received. Based on what they were seeing in the data, Stitch Fix went so far as to hire astrophysicists who used business intelligence to decode the various elements of personal style. 

The outcome? Ten years after their founding in 2011, Stitch Fix reported $2 billion in 2021 net revenue and 4.2 million clients.


5 Ways Business Intelligence Shapes Organization Goals

The writing's on the wall — business intelligence informs organizational goals and objectives in transformative ways. In fact, Better Buys reports that data analytics decreases the time spent on business decision-making by 5x. With business intelligence solutions, organizational strategic planning doesn’t have to rely on opinion, intuition, or preference. Instead, company leaders are empowered by data insights to implement actionable solutions.

A graphic of a man watering a plant, representing business strategy

Consider five of the specific ways that business intelligence leaders create and drive organizational strategy.


1. Determining and Monitoring Key Performance Indicators

Goals and aspirations are important components of business success, but without the relevant information to determine or track them meaningfully, their value plummets. This is just one place where the intersection of key performance indicators (KPIs) and business intelligence can make a huge difference.

Data optimization leader Megan Silva provides a relevant example. Hotels typically track revenue and room occupancy rates in order to determine their KPIs. But through business intelligence, they can contextualize their KPIs by including information like weather records. 

Understanding the data in those vivid terms that relate to how people actually decide whether or not they’re going to go on vacation — which includes whether or not it’s typically sunny somewhere at a certain time of year — can equip hotels and resorts to set their occupancy goals accurately. From there, they are better able to offer deals, promote certain activities, and execute seasonal hiring in ways that lead to better outcomes. 


2. Reducing Information Silos and Promoting Cross-Team Collaboration

Shared data, insights, and KPIs can help companies to improve their cross-team understandings as well. When all relevant teams have access to common metrics, their members develop a shared understanding of company goals and what it will take to achieve them. 

Wachovia Bank provides an informative example when it comes to how business intelligence can help companies break down data or information silos and become more collaborative. Wachovia grew rapidly over a ten-year period of mergers and acquisitions. But because of all the changes, they were dealing with an increase in data silos. The bank designed and deployed a data governance program built with the input of 300 employees representing a wide variety of departments. The strategy helped solve their data silo problem, formalized cross-organizational projects, and facilitated transparency.


3. Managing Risk with Greater Foresight and Precision

If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s that the ability to foresee challenges and create a plan to address them is invaluable. Business intelligence can help organizations do just that — identify risks and take the steps necessary to mitigate them. 

Liz Maloney, Microsoft Global Intelligence Program Manager, puts it this way: “Intelligence is the first step in understanding your risk…Our mission is to enable decision makers to mitigate risk and to respond to residual risk that we can’t avoid.”

Erica Brescia, former chief operating officer at GitHub, echoes Maloney’s sentiment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Brescia says, the GitHub intelligence team “helped us to identify threats and communicate effectively with multiple audiences throughout the company and across national and cultural boundaries to keep our employees safe and the business running.”


4. Creating More Effective Marketing Campaigns

Why didn’t that Instagram post perform well? Does anyone even open our emails? Are our Google Ads resulting in any conversions?

These are just some of the questions that business intelligence can help marketing professionals answer as they reflect on company history and strategize for the future. Rather than guessing, trying what seemed to work for a competitor, or sticking with the same tired strategy from three years ago, business intelligence can provide real-time insight into the best approach for an organization. 

Take Lotte.com, for example. As the leading internet shopping mall in Korea, leaders at Lotte.com wanted to understand why customers were abandoning their shopping carts. They implemented a business intelligence solution that analyzed consumer behavior and learned about the specific factors that led their specific customers to abandon their carts, such as a long checkout process. From there, they implemented targeted marketing campaigns and revised their website, leading to an increase of $10 million in sales and a noticeable increase in customer loyalty.


5. Forecasting Sales Trends and Patterns

Through current and historical data, business intelligence solutions can forecast sales quickly, efficiently, and accurately. This provides sales representatives with the opportunity to address areas where their sales are weak while maintaining strength in their better-performing sectors. 

Rather than relying on instinct or falling into patterns of preferring one client base over another, data visualization made possible by business intelligence can help sales representatives see right in front of them where they need to focus and how they are performing. 

Sales representatives don’t have to weed through pages of spreadsheets or pick through their handwritten notes. Rather, they can implement their sales into business intelligence software and reference charts, graphs, and models that help them understand exactly where they are, which can help them determine where they are going.

Lowe’s, for example, uses business intelligence to understand which types of products should be offered at specific store locations. And global manufacturer SFK has combined demand forecasts across their many departments in order to determine the most accurate possible forecast for their sales team. 


Become a Leader in Business Intelligence and the What’s Next Economy

Are you drawn to data, actionable insights, and decision-making? Do you enjoy applying statistics and historical records to real-world, current problems? Does the thought of leadership as a career path sound like a road you want to walk?

If so, consider the online Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Business Intelligence program at Marymount University Online. With a focus on actionable research, agility in a changing economy, and high-level, data-driven decision-making, the DBA – Business Intelligence will position you as a leader in the modern marketplace.

In less than three years, you can graduate from our 100% online program. Prepare to lead and set organizational strategy with a DBA in Business Intelligence.