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Making sense of business analytics in project selection and prioritisation: insights from the start-up trenches

Zamani, Efpraxia D.; Griva, Anastasia; Spanaki, Konstantina; O'Raghallaigh, Paidi; Sammon, David


Anastasia Griva

Konstantina Spanaki

Paidi O'Raghallaigh

David Sammon


The study aims to provide insights in the sensemaking process and the use of business analytics (BA) for project selection and prioritisation in start-up settings. A major focus is on the various ways start-ups can understand their data through the analytical process of sensemaking.

This is a comparative case study of two start-ups that use BA in their projects. The authors follow an interpretive approach and draw from the constructivist grounded theory method (GTM) for the purpose of data analysis, whereby the theory of sensemaking functions as the sensitising device that supports the interpretation of the data.

The key findings lie within the scope of project selection and prioritisation, where the sensemaking process is implicitly influenced by each start-up's strategy and business model. BA helps start-ups notice changes within their internal and external environment and focus their attention on the more critical questions along the lines of their processes, operations and business model. However, BA alone cannot support decision-making around less structured problems such as project selection and prioritisation, where intuitive judgement and personal opinion are still heavily used.

This study extends the research on BA applied in organisations as tools for business development. Specifically, the authors draw on the literature of BA tools in support of project management from multiple perspectives. The perspectives include but are not limited to project assessment and prioritisation. The authors view the decision-making process and the path from insight to value, as a sensemaking process, where data become part of the sensemaking roadmap and BA helps start-ups navigate the decision-making process.


Zamani, E. D., Griva, A., Spanaki, K., O'Raghallaigh, P., & Sammon, D. (2021). Making sense of business analytics in project selection and prioritisation: insights from the start-up trenches. Information Technology & People,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2021
Online Publication Date Apr 29, 2021
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Oct 3, 2023
Journal Information Technology & People
Print ISSN 0959-3845
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL