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ChristianSteven Software Business Intelligence Blog

Business Analytics vs. Business Intelligence: Here's The Difference.

Is there really a difference between Business analytics and business intelligence? The truth is that they have the same goal. Business analytics and business intelligence both exist to increase the efficiency and viability of a business by utilizing data analysis. Most businesses use the terms interchangeably and get along just fine. If you really want to understand where people draw the line, there are two popular opinions.

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Intelligence is what you have and analytics is what you do with it

One common way of pinpointing the difference between business intelligence and business analytics is found in determining what role they play in your business. Business intelligence is all about amassing and accessing big data. It also consists of the software and infrastructure that you use to funnel data to your analysis. Powerful software options exist that compile information; they are marketed as business intelligence software.

Alternatively, business analytics is what you do with the data that is at your disposal. Once you’ve amassed a large amount of data on everything from your production lines to your client satisfaction rate, you then use it to optimize your business performance. Business analytics help you determine what these long strings of numbers actually mean.

Analytics is about predicting trends

Business intelligence and business analytics differ in what function they perform for your company. Business intelligence looks backward in time. It’s data lists what has already occurred and provided you with insight to improve. For example, you clearly see what’s going well, but also learn to recover from what went terribly. Again, this links back to big data and the concept of creating an information-dump infrastructure where you can measure everything.

With this model, business analytics is more about what you’re doing to anticipate the trends and needs of the future. You take the data and deal with hypothetical changes to the models. This is less stable than business intelligence; even the best prediction isn’t the same as seeing the future. However, business analytics helps you evolve your business to meet changes in the landscape and then take advantage of coming developments.

For some businesses and even some analysts, it makes sense to divide the terms business analytics and business intelligence into different categories. Doing so allows interior precision. By speaking of business intelligence to one person, an analyst is actually thinking about big data. However, all of this leads to predicting what the market will look like next month. While these cultural distinctions can be useful, they don’t extend beyond one company. It’s important to establish an understanding of business intelligence and business analytics early to help avoid confusion.

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