Michael van Dijk
Co-founder & BI consultant

Quantifying your ROI on BI: Key Insights from our CFO Round Table


Quantifying the ROI on Business Intelligence (BI) projects is a challenge for CFOs and their leadership teams.

At our most recent round table event, we gathered CFOs from leading companies in diverse industries, such as Maritime, Logistics, and Sustainable Energy, to discuss and explore the question, “How to quantify the ROI of BI?”

In a private dining setting at Restaurant Parkheuvel, participants shared experiences and strategies for overcoming decision-making roadblocks, getting the leadership team onboard, organizing and budgeting for BI programs, and addressing practical day-to-day challenges.

Management summary:

The main takeaway is the importance of starting with BI over the quest of quantifying the ROI on BI. By building solutions incrementally in order to show the value of data to the leadership team and getting the organisation onboard. Having people to use data in their descesion making, ultimately realizes the greatest ROI. This approach allows organizations to experiment, learn, and adapt their BI strategies without the pressure of immediately quantifying a positive ROI.

Here are the top 7 key takeaways from the event:

  1. You Are Not Alone in This

All CFOs struggle to quantify the ROI on BI projects and programs. The quest of transitioning towards a data-driven company can feel lonely at times, as it’s challenging to get the leadership team onboard. Additionally, there can be resistance from employees due to fear of their job becoming obsolete.

  1. The CFO is the Initiator of BI

CFOs see themselves as the initiator of the implementation of BI in the organization and recognize their important role in data governance. They understand the need to get the leadership team onboard to achieve company-wide commitment and a positive ROI. The driving force behind the BI program should be a C-level member with a high-level perspective on business strategy and priorities.

  1. Leadership Teams Have a 1-3 Year Horizon

Most leadership teams focus on a short-term horizon of 1 to 3 years when anticipating the future. They often prioritize short-term challenges and developments over larger market shifts, such as Megatrends or technological innovations. There is a significant opportunity for leadership teams to professionalize scenario thinking for a +15 years horizon and incorporate it into their rhythm and way of working.

  1. Show, Show, Show & Communicate

CFOs that are successful in onboarding their leadership teams demonstrate a constant rhythm of showcasing results that deliver direct value for the business. They maintain an ongoing conversation about data and Business Intelligence and progress in short iterations.

  1. Double Down on Culture and Change Management

Acknowledge that not everyone in the organization may be comfortable with the idea of full transparency. The implementation of BI will most likely reveal errors in current (manual) reports, which can result in resistance to acceptance. Automation and digitalization require a change of mindset and adaptation of the current way of working.

  1. Improve Data Quality by Starting with BI

All CFOs struggle with the data quality dilemma: To get value out of data, you need good quality data. Almost no one has this to start with, so they don’t start. Because they don’t use the data, no one cares about the quality of the data, resulting in poor data quality. The only solution is to start with BI and generate the need for data quality, fixing it one step at a time.

  1. How to Get ROI on BI?

Starting with BI, experimenting, and learning is far more important than trying to figure out the direct ROI on BI. Kickstarting BI with an innovation budget reduces the pressure on quantifying immediate positive ROI. The biggest ROI comes from analysis, quality of decision-making, and actions taken based on data. The further this is incorporated into the culture of the organization, the bigger the ROI you realize on BI.


These discussions represent a step towards better understanding and addressing the complexities of implementing BI programs. We encourage CFOs and their leadership teams to take these insights to heart and to continue sharing their experiences in order to foster a community of collaborative growth and progress in the world of Business Intelligence.