Joint research program helps companies maximize their benefits from using BI systems

Only a few companies seem to be able to fully capitalize on the benefits derived from their business intelligence (BI) systems. This raises the question: are these types of systems managed in a way that enables them to reap all of the possible benefits? Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School has initiated a three-year research program to answer this question. Together with SAS Institute, one of its Prime Foundation Partners, the School will develop a BI-specific benefit realization approach based on scientific data and best practices.


Its international customer base and vast experience in BI projects make SAS Institute an ideal partner in our BI research.

Steven De Hertogh
Researcher at Vlerick Business School

The aim of our research program is to incorporate scientific data on BI systems with best practices in order to improve benefit realization.

Stijn Viaene
Associate Professor Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Vlerick Business School

Prime Foundation Partnership with Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School

The new research program stems from a new trend in the market for software systems. More and more classic transactional systems, such as ERPs, are combining forces with BI systems. At Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School, this evolution has raised questions.

BI vs. ERP systems

In previous research, the School had discovered that only few companies are able to fully reap all of the benefits of BI systems. “This indicates that the current benefit management approaches do not adequately support BI systems,” states Stijn Viaene, Associate Professor at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School. “In our opinion, BI systems require a different benefit realization management than the ERP systems they are commonly linked with.

"Both technologies are quite different at their core," continues Viaene. "ERP systems are mainly automation-driven. BI systems on the other hand are built to communicate vital information from various areas of business such as finance, sales, and distribution to real people. This means that the information provided by the latter needs to be clear and easily interpreted for correct application."

Conducting ground-breaking BI research

Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School initiated a three-year research program to investigate whether BI systems should be managed differently than ERP systems in order to improve benefit realization. "One of the School’s core values is to support business with better information. BI systems are designed to do just that. So if a better way exists to use and manage them, we want to know about it and be able to tell our students and companies about it," explains Viaene.

To find the answer to these questions, Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School has teamed up with SAS Institute in a Prime Foundation Partnership. "SAS is an ideal partner in our new BI research program," points out Steven De Hertogh, a researcher at the Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School. "BI is the common denominator in the majority of their services. This has given them rich practical experience, and makes them a perfect sparring partner."

New approach based on scientific data and best practices

The new research aims at defining an optimal benefit realization approach for BI projects that is based on scientific data and best practices. "In the first phase, we will explore in detail various sources, including BI academics, specialists, and field experts," states De Hertogh. "Afterwards, we will compare and incorporate our findings with best practices from the field."

SAS will play an important role in providing these best practices. "SAS will select a wide variety of international customers to provide us with appropriate and interesting business cases," explains De Hertogh. "After conducting in-depth interviews with these customers, we will distill best practices and leverage them with what we have found from existing literature. This will eventually enable us to develop a specific approach for BI investments."

Win-win situation

The collaboration is a win-win situation. "The development of a new benefit realization approach for BI systems creates added value for our research. It also enables us to provide our students with interesting new teaching cases," explains Viaene. "It will in turn help SAS improve the current ways of working based on scientific findings and international best practices, enabling them to better service their customers."

Vlerick Business School


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Key Facts

  • Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School and SAS Institute have embarked upon a three-year research program to help business get the most out of BI systems
  • The joint research will lead to an optimal approach to fully reap the benefits of BI applications
  • The approach will be based on scientific research complemented with international best practices from the field
"SAS Institute closely collaborates with Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School in ground-breaking business intelligence research"
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