What is business intelligence and how it differs from business analytics

Every day your business is generating diverse and an enormous amount of data. In order to make better, smarter decisions, rectify past mistakes and problems and become more profitable, you need a way to turn your data into actionable insights. This is where business intelligence (BI) comes in. Business intelligence, or BI, business analytics, and data analytics are all data management solutions employed to understand past and present data and generate insights from them. 

It is important to know that over the years, BI has significantly matured to include more processes and activities to help boost the performance companies and enterprises. These processes include:

  • Data mining
    Discovering trends by making use of databases, statistics and machine learning
  • Reporting
    Providing the analyzed data to stakeholders so they can make informed decisions
  • Performance metrics and benchmarking
    Comparing present data to past data to track performance against goals
  • Descriptive analysis
    Making use of preliminary data analysis to learn what happened
  • Statistical analysis
    Making use of results from descriptive analysis to further explore the data using statistics like how a particular trend occurred
  • Data visualization and analysis
    Converting data analysis in the charts, graphs, and histograms to easily understand and explore them 
  • Data preparation
    Compiling several data sources and preparing them for data analysis.

Business intelligence vs business analytics

It’s quite common to ask what is the difference between BI and business analytics, or is there any difference at all? Here’s where it gets tricky. There is no clear distinction between the two, but both, BI and business analytics are highly connected when it comes to resolving business issues, providing key insights on historical and contemporary data, and making future decisions. Some business experts state that business analytics focuses on predictive modeling and advanced statistics to assess what will happen in the future, while BI concentrates on the present moment of data, making the decision based on the lastest available insights. 

Confused, right? Let’s try to understand in more simple terms:

Business intelligence
BI is concerned with what happened in the past and how it happened to bring about the present moment. BI only identifies huge trends and patterns and is not concerned about why those things happened. BI is for current business operations and it applies to all large scale companies to run current business operations.

Business analytics
Business analytics examines why things happened in a certain way in the past and identifies the factors that contributed to those events. It then makes use of this data to predict what will happen in the future and change business operations and improve productivity.

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