What’s the difference between Business Analytics and Business Intelligence?

Posted by Maurice Lynch on 02-Feb-2017 14:18:47

There is a lot of terminology that gets thrown around in the world of BI (Business Intelligence), and it’s easy to get lost in interpretation.

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Bottom-line, there are two things worth differentiating:

  • The business aspect of BI — the need to get the most value out of information. This need hasn’t really changed in over fifty years
  • The IT aspect of BI — what technology is used to help provide the business need. This obviously does change over time.

Some would say that Business Intelligence is needed to run the business while Business Analytics are needed to transform the business.

Traditionally it was business intelligence which would have encompassed historical retrospective analysis of data to get deeper insights into the business.

Now we are seeing Business Analytics which is incorporating future outlooks, sometimes referred to as ‘predictive analytics’.

If we take what is traditionally known as the three pillars of Business Intelligence, we have the retrospective analysis, the here and now and the predictive:

1) Retrospective Analysis is based on historical data, what happened in the past year, showing how the company did, how was the performance

2) The Here-and-Now: that would be the classic dashboard: “I want real time access to information, I want to see what’s happening”.

Now we are moving into the future.

3) Predictive Analytics: Can we use machine learning algorithms? Can we use statistics and programs to say what will happen and what might happen, based on insights?

This is where the biggest change is happening and where embedded analytics solutions are being enhanced to provide new solutions to ever demanding clients.

The IT side of Business Intelligence is what merges all the silos of information that exist around the companies, is what helps the companies make sense of their data and supports their strategic decisions in the long run.

So, the correct answer to the question What is the difference between Business Intelligence and Business Analytics is everyone has a different opinion on where the line draws between these two.

However, regardless if the company chooses to use the term Business Intelligence or Business Analytics, the most important fact, is that the right data is going into the right tool to empower strategic decisions for sustainable growth.

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Topics: Business Intelligence, Business Analytics, Machine Learning