Business Analytics
Analysis of an Emerging Concept
Marcos Paulo Valadares de Oliveira
, Claudia Xavier Cavalcanti
and Marcelo Bronzo Ladeira
Departamento de Administração, Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, Campus Goiabeiras, Vitória, ES, Brazil
Departamento de Administração, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, FACE, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
Keywords: Business Analytics, Analytics Orientation, Decision Making.
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a scientometric research on Business Analytics concept
aiming to analyze the literature in a quantitative and descriptive way. In order to develop this research, it
was conducted a literature review considering all papers that had the term “Business Analytics” in the title
and which were published from 2002 to 2012. The findings presented in this paper are based on 155 papers
found, being 137 identified as publications in IT and business magazines and just a few number of articles a
total of 23 articles were published in academic journals. The findings corroborate that BA is becoming very
well known among a large number of companies worldwide, being applied in order to improve business
process performance. Since BA concept is in an embryonic state, more researches should be conducted in
order to build a more robust literature under the realm of business administration considering the scarcity of
empirical articles in reputable academic journals.
The decision-making processes have historically
been subject of several studies, both within and
outside the business administration field. Several
authors have contributed significantly to enrich the
analysis of this issue. An important landmark on this
field was provided by Simon (Simon, 1947; 1955;
1956), who offered a remarkable contribution
discussing about the limits of rationality in decision
Companies are always looking for more
intelligent solutions for their businesses in order to
improve their processes and achieve superior results.
According to (Davenport and Harris, 2007), when
companies adopt business analytics they are taking
advantage of solutions to their business problems, by
transforming data into knowledge for decision
The process of decision making in organizations
requires that managers have not only advanced
knowledge about the conditions of both internal and
external environment, but also the capability to
evaluate the results of their decisions and their
consequences for the company.
According to (Isik et al., 2011), in response to a
growing amount of data to be analyzed in companies
and due to increasing pressure to respond better and
faster to customers, companies have turned to the
adoption of Business Intelligence (BI) as means to
improve organizational decision making. For (Zeng
et al., 2012), BI is the process of collecting correct
information in the right format at the right time for
delivery of the results for decision making in order
to have a positive impact on business operations,
tactics and strategies in companies.
In this context, "Business Analytics" (BA)
concept emerged as an approach that takes
advantage of a set of BI tools for business enabling
managers to obtain real-time access to predictive
information. According to (Varga and Vukovi,
2007), BA enables organizations to go beyond
traditional BI by providing an integrated system, a
corporate vision of information and a higher level of
knowledge about forecasting and optimization of
According to Varshney and Mojsilovic (2011),
BA concept represents a framework that
encompasses many solutions such as demand
forecasting, capacity planning of resources,
manpower planning, optimization and modeling of
the sales force, forecasting revenue, better customer
understanding and products, among other solutions.
However, this great interest in Business
Valadares de Oliveira M., Xavier Cavalcanti C. and Bronzo Ladeira M. (2013).
Business Analytics - Analysis of an Emerging Concept.
In Proceedings of the International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Information Retrieval and the International Conference on Knowledge
Management and Information Sharing, pages 547-551
DOI: 10.5220/0004650905470551
Analytics among worldwide companies is still at the
beginning in the academic world, so due to these
reasons, this paper aim to provide a diagnosis of
how this matter is being treated in the academic
The scientometric (Raan, 1997) was applied
taking into account some indicators related to a
general bibliometric research, including the number
of papers per year, the journals where such
publications occurred, the nationality of the main
authors, the number of participants per article, the
impact factors and a citation analysis.
In addition, an analysis was done in the
perspective of the content of the selected papers,
regarding the context of the papers (Business or
Technology environment), the academic or non-
academic orientation of the publication (Business,
IT), and the relationship of BA with other constructs
(e.g. decision-making process, strategy, BI, supply
chain, planning and others) as well as the
methodology applied in each empirical work (e.g.
case studies, survey, conceptual articles, multiple
There are no doubts that publications on BA topics
have become more common in both management
and IT magazines. The most important moment of
BA literature occurred when it acquired more
visibility through the publication of Davenport’s
paper “Competing on Analytics” in the Harvard
Business Review. Later on in a book, (Davenport
and Harris, 2007) additionally described BA as the
extensive use of data, statistical and quantitative
analysis, explanatory and predictive models, and
fact-based management to drive decisions and
(Davenport and Harris, 2007) proposed that
companies must consider two distinct domains
regarding BA: i) Internal Analytics: Financial,
Manufacturing, Research & development, Human
Resources; and ii) External Analytics: Customer and
Supplier. In order to approach such domains,
companies must “get the data in shape” preparing
large amounts of high-quality data to build
prosperous analytical environments. Analytical
competition requires a clear business strategy in
which executives should consider what key
processes and strategic initiatives would be
advanced based on the right analytics.
Besides Davenport’s publications, there are some
relevant papers that should be highlighted. (Oliveira
et al., 2012), in the paper Business analytics in
supply chains – The contingent effect of business
process maturity, analyzes the effect of the use of
business analytics on supply chain performance,
investigating the changing information processing
needs at different supply chain process maturity
Another relevant publication is The impact of
business analytics on supply chain performance by
(Trkman et al., 2010) that analyze the relationship
between analytical capabilities in the plan, source,
make and deliver area of supply chains and their
impact on organizational performance, taking
information system support and business process
orientation as moderators. The authors conclude that
the moderation effect of information systems
support is stronger than the effect of business
process orientation, highlighting the importance of a
company's use of its databases, explicative and
predictive models and fact-based management to
drive its decisions.
Another relevant paper that provides a new
perspective of BA is The Talent and analytics: new
approaches, higher ROI (Jeanne et al., 2011). In this
paper, authors correlate BA to Human Resources
processes and propose one ladder of analytical HR
applications. In this sense, some approaches have
more impact than others, and can be envisioned as a
ladder of analytical sophistication.
Additionally, the paper Integrating business
analytics into strategic planning (Klatt et al., 2011)
provided a relevant contribution by showing that the
effective use of business analytics is achieved by
combining three different application perspectives: i)
the IT Based applications; ii) the management
accounting applications; and iii) the analytical
methods applications.
More recently, it can also be cited a paper
developed by (Loukis et al., 2012) entitled
Transforming e-services evaluation data into
business analytics using value models Transforming
e-services evaluation data into business analytics
using value models. In this paper the authors
emphasize how the websites have been evaluating
large amounts of data nowadays, suggesting that
transforming these data into useful business
analytics requires a better understanding of the
strengths and weaknesses of the e-service, providing
guidance for its improvement and optimization. The
authors propose and validate a methodology for
transforming user evaluation data into useful
business analytics and define value model for e-
Despite of the scarcity of papers published in
ranked management journals about BA, they
collaborate for building the concept, presenting BA
as an emerging subject both for practitioners and
Even though it was possible to locate only 23
published scientific articles in the period 2002-2012,
it is important to highlight a quite remarkable
evolution starting in 2006. As can be seen in Figure
1, after a peak in 2008, there is an increasing number
of publications on the topic year by year since 2009,
with other peaks in 2011 and 2012.
Figure 1: Evolution of BA publications.
It is important to point out that the majority of
the articles in BA have appeared in unranked
journals. Empirical research in BA has reached top-
class journals only to a moderate extent so far. Out
of 23 papers found, only 5 papers were published in
journals listed at Journal of Citation Reports. In this
sense, it suggests that an increase of articles in
ranked journals can be expected with growing
popularity and proceeding maturity of the research
field in the future.
There is a considerable amount of magazines that
have already published BA reports. It was possible
to find 137 publications in IT and Business
specialized magazines in the last 10 years (e.g.
eWeek, InformationWeek, Computer World, and so
Such evidences position Business Analytics as an
emerging field that it is attracting much interest from
practitioners’ community but still embryonic as an
academic research subject. In this sense, it can
depicted from this that Business Analytics is a
excellent opportunity as a research field for
academicals since practitioners are demanding more
info and knowledge about it.
The prevalence of American authors in BA
publications is quite notable. Considering the
authorship of the scientifically grounded papers,
46% of researchers are from universities in United
States. It is relevant also to point out that researchers
from different countries (India 17%, Singapore 7%,
Germany 6%, Greece 6%, Israel 6%, Croatia 4%,
Brazil 2%, Slovenia 2%, Serbia 2% and Switzerland
2%) have been publishing also, even though in a
lower percentage.
Table 1 summarizes the research publications
descriptive data considering 3 perspectives: Meta
perspective, Content-based perspective and
methodological perspective (Houy et al., 2010).
Table 1: Papers classified by research perspectives.
From the meta-perspective, once there are just a
few BA empirical papers, the values of the
indicators are low in general, especially regarding
contributions per journal and per year. The average
of 2.3 authors per article is in accordance to most
part of articles published in academic journals.
From the methodological perspective, as BA
researches are fairly new in the academic
environment, most publications are theoretical
(43.48%) or based on case studies (34.78%). Survey
methodologies are represented by 21.74% but almost
all of the Surveys were published in ranked journals.
The use of case study for BA research is explained
by (Trkman, 2010) as a way of tackling areas that
are still in the understanding, discovery and
description stage, being strongly recommended as a
research strategy in an emerging area.
From the content-based perspective, empirical
BA approaches are more often applied in the
Business context and a mixed Business/IT
orientation context. Nevertheless, the interest in BA
and the practical application in the administration
context have increased in recent years, even though
BA is well known in the IT context. The chart below
shows the issues that were related to BA in the 23
ContributionsperyearNumber 2,1
Contributionsperjournal 1,0
Contributionspercountry/region 2,2
Contributionsperresearcher 0,4
Participatingauthorsperarticle 2,3
ContentbasedperspectiveContext Nr. %
Technologyoriented 6 27%
Businessoriented 9 41%
Technology/Businessoriented 9 41%
MethodicalperspectiveResearchmethod Nr. %
Survey 5 23%
Theoretic 11 50%
Casestudy 836%
Actionresearch 0 0%
Multimethod 0 0%
academic articles. The occurrences were distributed
in Supply Chain (13%), IT (13%) and Management
Performance (21%). Such distribution shows that
BA subject is being embraced for different
knowledge areas in a multidisciplinary context.
Figure 2: BA publications by subject.
This research identified that most part of the
authors that published BA articles have a common
vision that Business Analytics focuses on the
development of new insights for improving business
performance and may be used as input for human
decisions or may drive automated decisions.
The presented article has introduced business
process empirical research as an emerging field in
BA. By evaluating a reference framework to support
a comprehensive analysis of BA articles and
identifying interesting trends in BA research from a
meta-perspective, a content-based and a
methodological perspective (Houy et al., 2010), the
results open rich possibilities of scientific research in
the area.
In fact, BA is becoming an important issue
among competitive companies. In other side, in
regards to academic issues, it has a long and fertile
way ahead. This demand can be identified when we
look to the amount of publications in non scientific
magazines showing how attractive BA is for
practitioners. In order to achieve a relevant position
in the academic environment, researchers from all
over the world should be encouraged to develop new
scientific researches regarding BA.
If more academic articles in BA are required, it
means that it will be highly relevant for research as
well as for practice in organizations. It can provide
important information for companies regarding how
to apply existing methods, process models, best
practices as well as BA tools in an effective and
efficient way.
This paper noticed that it is extremely necessary
to have more accuracy in regards to the procedure
and methodology employed in BA scientific
researches. Concerning the quality of publications, it
was found that some problems like lack of
methodological rigor, especially for the low
percentage of papers that state clearly the
methodology applied in the research. This fact is
confirmed by the low percentage of papers in ranked
journals. Even though some papers should be
improved, there are some relevant ones that should
be highlighted and that really promoted relevant
contributions to the field.
The analysis of the 23 scientific articles
published in the period between 2002-2012
presented an overview of the prevailing research
methodologies, indicating the notable “few” but
growing number of articles published in the area of
Business Analytics. It is important to point out that
majority of these papers are related to the
management area. However, there is a great amount
of no academic articles (137) which were published
in specialized IT magazines.
The predominant number of American
researches (46%) in comparison to other countries,
indicates that USA dominates the “BA
environment”, even though other countries have
been growing in this field (e.g. Brazil, India,
Germany, Singapore, Greece, Israel). In regards to
research methodologies, the results present the
preference for descriptive and theoretic research
(50%) followed by case studies (36%) and survey
research (23%).
In fact, new researches should be developed
about Business Analytics, in order to make this
emerging field more explored and mature. It would
be expected that those prominent qualitative and
theoretical studies could serve as a basis on which
further quantitative and conclusive works can be
developed, testing hypothesis and validating models.
A more balanced research agenda, in this case, will
be of much value, advancing our knowledge and
understanding of such relevant topic on operations
and business management theories and practices.
Authors would like to thank FAPES and CNPq for
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