Business Intelligence (BI) Should Not Replace Business Intuition (BI)

The constant buzz around the C-Suite today, is centered on the reliance and value of (BI) business intelligence in today’s operating environment.I don’t intend to argue that fact, as long as the acquisition of the right business intelligence (BI) suite doesn’t negate or dismiss the value of (BI) business intuition.

That “gut feeling” that something is wrong in business or life shouldn’t be dismissed. It has been a proven element of many competitive and operational decisions that have driven growth and has also been a factor in many decisions that honored internal employees and respected the needs of the community.

Think how often you may have received a quarterly KPI that caused confusion rather than clarity.


For long-term success in business or in many other dimensions of life, that intuitive sense of confusion must not be dismissed but viewed as another dimension of management decision making.

That intuitive sense that something is wrong has huge value especially if you couple that uncertainty or confusion with the right business intelligence formula for success.

Business intuition coupled with the right business intelligence platform allows managers to effectively identify the red flags that serve as a warning that problems exist and need to be addressed.

When business intuition is aligned with business intelligence, critical business decisions can be made with less personal ego and more for the betterment of the whole organization. The common protective masks can come off. You don’t have to pretend to be someone else when the C-suite is sitting at the table.

So, what does it look like when business intuition is armed with business intelligence?

If you have the right business intelligence platform, you enable your front-line managers to take what I call the “wonder if” actions.

This means that when local managers check out the quarterly KPI and it evokes intuitive confusion, they don’t have to drown in that confusion or accept it.

Now that front-line manager can honor that curiosity or internal intuitive sense and dive into those uncertainties or questions evoked by the KPI to find the root causes and identify fact based actions to take that will either preserve or improve the results shown in that KPI or fix a problem reflected by that KPI.

And when the entire management team are armed with the right business intelligence platform, there is no need to wait until a quarterly KPI shows up to follow that intuitive sense.

When daily performance information is placed into the hands of managers, actions can be taken, and results of those actions can be measured.

The keys to success for a high-performance business intelligence system are…

  • Access: All the data must be accessible to managers without IT departments standing as gatekeepers.
  • Speed: Managers must be able to ask “What if” questions and get answers in seconds not days. And system speed is preserved even with large and diverse data sources.
  • Intuitive: The queries and data must be accessible and presented in user-friendly formats so managers see the data exactly the way they think about it.
  • Flexible & Detailed: Managers are the drivers of data formats and the data must be accessible down to the root cause issue so accurate decisions can be made and tracked;
  • Managerial Independence: The data and access must ultimately allow managers to ask their own questions, make fact based decisions and see the results themselves. This drives a climate of continuous improvement and real accountability.

Long term consistent growth is found by combining the right business intelligence platform while honoring the business intuition of managers.

When intuition is interacting with the right (BI) business intelligence platform and respected by management, the entire management team becomes more synchronized and the energies of the organizations align not just for profitability but for the enhancement of the internal culture and the respect of the community.

This formula ensures a sustainable long-term success.

Karl Edmunds

About the Author

Vice President, Salient Management Company

is a nationally recognized business leader and author with more than 20 years of experience working with suppliers, distributors, and retailers in the CPG industry. His focus is aligning technical solutions with sales, marketing, and organizational needs to drive long-term profitable growth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.