How does Business intelligence & analytics create business value and facilitate ambidexterity? A case study in the Swedish online retailing industry

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Management and economics of innovation (MPMEI), MSc
Walman, Adam
Thornander, Oscar
Several tools and methods have arisen in the last decade to leverage data, where business intelligence and analytics have become commonly used by companies and significantly in the online retailing industry. The online retailing industry stands out with its immense growth and access to data on customers, competitors, and products, making it possible to find and create value from data with a relatively low initial investment. Business analytics and intelligence is a fast-evolving field in which earlier studies on value appropriation have primarily been conducted in Spain and the US, outside the online retailing segment. Thus, the Swedish online retailing market is previously unexplored and could be especially interesting to study, as the country is viewed as an IT frontier. A business is bound to include activities to create value for the present and the future by innovation and continuous improvement to survive, and these processes can be reinforced with business intelligence and analytics. However, how value is appropriated through business intelligence and analytics is sparsely covered and needs further examination. This paper aims to expand the knowledge on how value is appropriated through BI&A. Further, the paper aims to investigate whether and how BI&A can assist continuous improvement and innovation by supporting ambidexterity and its exploitation and exploration processes by studying the online retail market in Sweden. A qualitative methodology was adopted in which 14 different online retailing companies operating in Sweden have been interviewed, along with two experts in online retailing. The study identified improvements in operational efficiency, increasing sales, and competitiveness of the business as three main areas of value appropriations gained from business intelligence and analytics. The paper presents vast examples of how value is created and appropriated through business intelligence and analytics in these three main areas and are highlighted in the results. Our findings and discussion present how value is created, not only in the online retailers’ specific functions but gives a holistic view of how business intelligence and analytics support value creation throughout the organization. Further, our findings suggest that business analytics and intelligence improve the ability to achieve ambidexterity by supporting explorative and exploitive activities with, for example, methods and tools such as designing and aligning KPIs, and A/B testing, influencing the mediating factors of interconnectedness and crossfunctional interfaces.
Business intelligence and analytics, online retailing, ambidexterity, competitive advantage, dynamic capabilities
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