Tampere University of Technology

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Business intelligence as a managerial tool in large Finnish companies

Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesisCollection of Articles


Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTampere
PublisherTampere University of Technology
Number of pages90
ISBN (Print)978-052-15-1697-9
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Publication series

NameTampereen teknillinen yliopisto. Julkaisu
PublisherTampere University of Technology
ISSN (Print)1459-2045


In the knowledge-driven economy, a rapid and holistic understanding of business is more crucial than ever before, on account of the new rules of competition and the greater complexity and speed of change. This dissertation focuses on the phenomenon called business intelligence (BI), which is an approach to process and enrich business information in the managerial context. The main focus of BI is on providing management with the information and insight necessary to understand a company s most crucial business possibilities and risks and how the company should position itself in light of potential changes. The main idea of BI addresses very old management problems, and BI has its roots in various traditional disciplines. Even if the phenomenon is widely known and used in the business world and the consultancy literature, there is no precise or universally shared concept of what BI is. The dissertation examines BI as a tool for managing business information in large Finnish companies. The thesis starts with definition of the doctrine of BI and its positioning at the level of BI-related concepts. The latter is also the main theoretical objective of the thesis. Another theoretical objective is to confirm the theoretical framework for BI and increase understanding of this young field of research. The empirical objective of the dissertation is to improve on the general knowledge of BI and its evolution, state, and usage in large Finnish companies. In addition, the dissertation examines methods for measuring BI, integration of a BI process into strategic management, and utilization of human-source intelligence. The thesis relies on three sources of data: single-case studies with interviews and observations, surveys, and literature-based research. The theoretical framework of the thesis is based on the traditional management literature and the more contemporary BI and information management literature. The results presented in the dissertation suggest that the role of BI in Finland has expanded since the 1990s. The use of BI increased in the top 50 Finnish companies in the time span under examination, and BI is likely becoming an integral part of these companies activities. Large Finnish companies view BI not only as a defensive tool to ward off perceived threats and changes but also as a proactive management tool for uncovering new business opportunities, trends, and weak signals in the business environment. Most of the top 50 companies utilize their own resources for BI and have an information system dedicated to BI. However, they feel that BI is currently not systematic enough. On the basis of the research, one may cite as possible reasons for the disaffection with BI, e.g., the lack of BI metrics and the fact that the bulk of BI investments have focused on technical details at the expense of human elements.

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