Companies are constantly inundated with data. Yet, despite regular advancements in analytical strategies, said information often pours in too quickly to comprehend. Business Intelligence (BI), however, offers leaders an effective way to generate actionable information about critical business operations, including company and customer experience management (CEM) specific data, in an effort to bring structure and meaning to the knowledge that would otherwise remain just slightly out of reach.

According to Mary K. Pratt’s definition for CIO, “Business intelligence (BI) leverages software and services to transform data into actionable intelligence that informs an organization’s strategic and tactical business decisions. BI tools access and analyze data sets and present analytical findings in reports, summaries, dashboards, graphs, charts and maps to provide users with detailed intelligence about the state of the business.”

Thus, before companies can understand and implement Business Intelligence reports and results to the fullest extent, leaders must lay the foundation necessary to bring the insights gleaned to action.

When it comes to segmenting business intelligence—an essential step when determining which data points to act upon first—leaders must break said information down into the two key fundamental, actionable components necessary to drive continued customer loyalty. Therefore, they must segment information by account type and contact type:

Account Type—

1.     Tier I: Accounts that provide the highest revenue and are strategic accounts (i.e. 80/20 rule—80 percent of your revenue, representing 20 percent of your customers)
2.      Tier II: Accounts representing the next 10 percent of revenue
3.      Tier III - Tier ‘N’: Your remaining accounts (last 10 percent of your revenue)

Contact Type—

1.      Identify the Decision Makers Title: - Executive Management
2.      Identify the Recommenders Title: - Middle Management
3.      Identify the Influencers Title: – Frontline (Select Key Employees only)

Business Intelligence reports, of course, are typically presented in dashboard format, as they are accessible to everyone across the organization. Dashboards include gauges, charts, and other graphical representations that deliver at-a-glance views of critical metrics. Dashboards also offer drill-downs, which enable leaders to take a more in-depth look at specific information regarding products, organization/function, and country/region/district/branch or individual. BI reports also include multi-dimensional cubes, which allow for correlated analysis by multiple areas, such as customer, product revenue, and timeframe. Other BI report types include:

  • Delta analysis
  • Vulnerability Index
  • Key driver analysis
  • CRMI ScoreBoard Index
  • Balanced ScoreCard
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPI)


Leaders know that smart decisions require reliable data. But, before they can begin to consider the future, they must first analyze the actions of both the present and the past. That’s where BI comes into play.

“In its most basic form, business intelligence encompasses the analysis of a company’s raw data and analytics, to produce actionable takeaways,” Chris Lukasiak, senior vice president of MyHealthDirect, a health-tech company that offers a SaaS platform for online scheduling and digital care coordination, writes for Forbes. “Data analyzed might include current sales figures, customer shopping habits or operations costs. With more data at our hands, business intelligence is critical to making informed business decisions and can be a key component of forming predictive analyses for the future of a company.”

Business Intelligence reports provide companies with historical and present views of business operations, which subsequently inform their predictive views of the organization. Essentially, BI tells leaders what once was and what is in an effort to help them determine what will be down the road. Examining said data helps leaders understand pervasive trends and derive actionable insights that influence better business decisions in both the short and long term.

“Careful analysis of your data will help you understand customer behavior and even give you the power to better detect what your customers would like in the future,” Lukasiak adds. “From predictive analytics to data that reveals service or product gaps, business intelligence findings have the power to help companies stay ahead of the curveball.”

While brands across industries are decidedly enamored by the concept of predictive analytics, many lose sight of the importance of Business Intelligence and data that explores the past and present of their given organizations. Before companies can determine where they are headed, they need to establish where they have been. Countless organizations invest in analytics that forecast future moves or outcomes, yet leaders often neglect to recognize how past initiatives and present programs influence the customer experience. They need to pause and audit what’s worked and what hasn’t in an effort to proceed in the most lucrative way possible.

Business Intelligence ultimately empowers companies to focus on the ‘now’ so they can truly succeed when ‘later’ becomes the new normal. Leaders need to know where the organization has been if they hope to live up to their titles and adequately lead their companies toward the future they’ve predicted for themselves all along.