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Posted On: Aug 25, 2017



Have you ever used Business Intelligence and Business Analytics for the same purpose? Do these terms mean the same thing?

Technically, both are interchangeable terms and are used by many businesses today. Business Intelligence and Analytics is the process of using data to analyze and optimize performance and make informed and effective choices. However, the question is whether we should be treating these two terms as synonyms?

In today’s world, it has become important for a business to know what they need to improve, which process is efficient and what is not working. It is pretty obvious, no? the tricky part is to decide how you intend to go about it.

In today’s technologically advanced world, organizations survive on collecting and storing huge amounts of data obtained from customers. However, the scope of data makes it hard for companies to prioritize and pick the right data required to thrive. This is where businesses make use of Business Intelligence (BI) and Business Analytics (BA). Both technologies offer tools and procedures to analyze, prioritize and optimize data available to you.

Is there a difference between these two terms? Let's have a closer look to determine the difference:

Business Intelligence (BI)

For me, Business Intelligence means a set of technologies that help businesses make better decisions that will be supported by the analysts, middle management and executives within a company. Every BI tool has a lot to offer to an organization. The primary features include timely reports for managers, dashboards for executive and pivot tables for analysts. The main goal of self-service analytics is to facilitate end consumers to produce efficient outcomes. Here’s the catch – it has to be done without the help of technical support staff such as IT specialists or consultants.

Business Analytics (BA)

In order to understand Business Analytics, there is a need to understand and define what ‘analysis’ mean. It is a simple process to narrow down, for instance, information into small chunks of data for the purpose of understanding the whole element.

Hence, we can say that BA is referred to as a tool that supports the process mentioned above.

Have you heard of how a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle cannot be a square? Similarly, Business Intelligence is a narrow approach of Business Analytics.

To me, Business Intelligence is a particular and well-defined approach when compared to Analytics. People can easily tell and differentiate whether a certain data is BI or not. This is not the case with Business Analytics. For example, we have spreadsheets, Google Analytics, analytics of your shopping budget saved on your mobile or IBM Watson – all this is included in BA.


Business Intelligence and Business Analytics – Which one to choose?

On a broader perspective, BI tools analyze past and current data to optimize business efficiency in the present. Whereas, BA makes use of past data and analyzes present data to make future business predictions.

If you are confused between BI and BA for your business, determine your aims, objectives and goals. You should choose BA if you are not satisfied with your business model and need assistance with how to begin with it. In contrast, if you are happy with the business model implemented in your organization, but you want to increase efficiency and productivity to improve business operations and accomplish company goals, BI is your best bet.