Exploring Business Intelligence Strategies in the Digital Age: Insights and Recommendations

Industry 4.0 has put additional competitive pressure on incumbent companies, and at the same time has 

created new opportunities for the ones that are able to leverage on a more digital and interconnected world 

(Wittich et al., 2019). Understanding how incumbents and even new entrants can take full advantage from this 

changing environment implies assessing which key conditions may influence competitive strength and 

accelerate growth.  

In the current paper, we examine the case of a traditional German engineering company that harnessed on the 

power of advanced analytics to develop actionable business intelligence. The company, with more than 500 

employees, was extremely dependent on the automotive sector. As argued by Corner (2015), this strong 

dependence on a single sector left the company more exposed to the unexpected business contractions of that 

sector, as the recent downturn of the automotive production in Germany (Fasse, 2019). In fact, 2019 industry 

data showed that car production in Germany reached its lowest level since 1997 (Barfield, 2020). 

Facing this challenging situation, the company decided to look for ways to diversify their customer base away 

from the automotive sector. Given that the company has limited resources, and also that it is more expensive 

to acquire a new customer than retaining existing ones (Gallo, 2014), the company chose to focus its sales 

efforts on expanding their business with existing customers from the general industry. In line with this goal, 

and according to Viviers et al. (2005), the company followed four steps comprised in the competitive 

intelligence cycle:  

  1. Planning the collection of information in order to prioritize sales efforts with existing customers 
  2. Collection of information from a variety of sources (internal and external datasets) 
  3. Using different analytical tools to analyse the information 
  4. Gathering the information and communicating it to the company top-management 

Speaker profiles

Anabela Reis

Clemens von Reyher