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Developing a business analytics methodology: a case study in the foodbank sector

Hindle, Giles A.; Vidgen, Richard


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Dr Giles Hindle
Senior Lecturer and Programme Director for MSc Business Analytics

Richard Vidgen


The current research seeks to address the following question: how can organizations align their business analytics development projects with their business goals? To pursue this research agenda we adopt an action research framework to develop and apply a business analytics methodology (BAM). The four-stage BAM (problem situation structuring, business model mapping, analytics leverage analysis, and analytics implementation) is not a prescription. Rather, it provides a logical structure and logical precedence of activities that can be used to guide the practice of analytics (i.e., a mental model). The client for the action research project is The Trussell Trust, which is a UK charity with the mission of empowering local communities to combat poverty and exclusion. As part of the action research project the research team created the UK's first dynamic visualization tool for crises related to food poverty. The prototype uses foodbank data to map geographical demand and aligns findings to 2011 Census data to predict where additional foodbanks may be needed. Research findings are that: (1) the analytics methodology provides an umbrella for, and applies equally to, data science and Operational Research (OR); (2) that the practice of business analytics is an entangled and emergent mix of top-down analysis and bottom-up action; and, (3) that, for the third sector in particular, analytics can be usefully approached as a collective and community endeavor.


Hindle, G. A., & Vidgen, R. (2018). Developing a business analytics methodology: a case study in the foodbank sector. European journal of operational research, 268(3), 836-851.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 9, 2017
Online Publication Date Jun 15, 2017
Publication Date Aug 1, 2018
Deposit Date Aug 18, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jun 16, 2019
Journal European journal of operational research
Print ISSN 0377-2217
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 268
Issue 3
Pages 836-851
Keywords Analytics, OR for community development, Data mining, Problem structuring methods, Business modelling, Soft systems methodology, Business analytics methodology
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Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the accepted manuscript of an article published in European journal of operational research, 2017. The version of record is available at the DOI link in this record.


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