25 Questions You Didn’t Know Business Intelligence Could Answer for Your Business


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How much data is currently available for you to analyze about your business? Too much! IBM recently estimated that in the year 2012, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data (that’s eighteen zeros) were created daily. That means by reasonable estimates about 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years alone. Here’s a horoscope quality stat: “You will go to work and feel like you are failing to make data driven decisions with data you know your organization is collecting.” That pretty much applies to everyone.

Mmm. Questions you do not know, ask you must...

Mmm. Questions you do not know, ask you must…

Last week Gleanster published the 2014 annual Business Intelligence Gleansight Benchmark report featuring insights on the tactics and strategic objectives of Top Performing organizations. The report also highlights vendor rankings for 25 BI solutions across features and functions, ease of use, ease of deployment, and overall value.

In 2014 the top reasons Top Performers cite for implementing BI include executive level demand for data driven decisions (92%), reduction in operating costs and waste (59%), and identifying new revenue growth opportunities. But translating those goals into reality has proven to be a massive job that leaves many business users frustrated. The data seems so close, and yet so far away.

In 2014, BI is all about making data more accessible to business users: mobile BI, on-demand access to business intelligence, ease of use, and flexible integration to connect or consume data from a variety of sources. But all this focus on what you can do sometimes leaves you wondering what you should do with business data.

Here are 25 questions you probably didn’t know a business intelligence tool could answer about your business.

Human Resources

1. What are the most common causes of voluntary termination based on employee performance reviews?

2. Are our most satisfied employees the highest paid employees?

3. What is the deal mix between compensation and bonus to reward employees and motivate them to perform?

4. What percentage of our current employees are actively disengaged from work?

5. How effective are our learning programs? Does employee behavior change as a result of training?

Supply Chain

6. How frequently are the same inspection errors being logged year over year?

7. How long does it take us to process paperwork and work through procurement processes relative to the time it takes to deliver the goods?

8. Do partners value improvements in process reduction time relative to our peers? What is the monetary impact of delays or missed deadlines?

9. Can we eliminate the number of touches in the supply chain process to reduce failures?

10. Based on the existing data available in our current BI tool, what types of decisions could I make if other sources of internal data were available for analysis?


11. Which digital marketing channels or combination of channels do sales qualified leads have a propensity to engage in?

12. Do certain regions have an affinity for purchasing our products? If so, what problem are they actually solving?

13. What blog subject lines are driving the most engagement? Is there a formula that works for us?

14. Do repeat customers have an affinity for promoting our products on social media?

15. How much marketing budget would I need to source leads that would convert to “x” sales target?


16. On average how long do leads stay in the opportunity stage before making a purchase?

17. Does the speed at which we reach out to a new lead impact the ability to have a sales conversation?

18. What are our top three most profitable customer segments?

19. Does my current commission structure motivate my sales reps to their full capacity?

20. What collateral and materials do my top 20% of reps typically leverage in deal cycles?

Executive Strategy

21. Can I reduce my operating expenses by 10%? If so, what should we cut?

22. How much more would I have to invest in marketing to drive a 30% increase in sales next year?

23. Is the business on track to meet sales objectives this quarter?

24. How many of my direct reports are consuming BI reports and analytics each month?

25. Can I demonstrate with data 5 ways I have been effective and 5 areas of improvement?

If you are interested in learning more about the BI adoption and usage best practices we uncovered from Top Performing organizations, check out the new benchmark report: http://www.gleanster.com/gleansight/2014-business-intelligence

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ian Michiels
Ian Michiels is a Principal & CEO at Gleanster Research, a globally known IT Market Research firm covering marketing, sales, voice of the customer, and BI. Michiels is a seasoned analyst, consultant, and speaker responsible for over 350 published analyst reports. He maintains ongoing relationships with hundreds of software executives each year and surveys tens of thousands of industry professionals to keep a finger on the pulse of the market. Michiels has also worked with some of the world's biggest brands including Nike, Sears Holdings, Wells Fargo, Franklin Templeton, and Ceasars.


  1. “Can I demonstrate with data 5 ways I have been effective and 5 areas of improvement?”

    Yes!! Thank you for pointing out the need for executive-level support of BI. Business intelligence solutions cannot operate under a “set and forget” methodology; they constantly need testing and reconfiguring. Looking for areas of improvement allow businesses to better define their BI goals and create more meaning from the data they are collecting.


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