Making smart business decisions, identifying problems, and being profitable demands methods and tools that turn data into actionable insights. Business Intelligence (BI) and Business Analytics(BA) present data management solutions. While BI is often used as a foundation to answer complex questions, BA is more advanced. The two terms sound similar but serve different purposes. Understanding Business Intelligence vs Business Analytics is crucial to get the best from your data. 

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Business Intelligence vs Business Analytics

Characteristics 

Business Intelligence

Business Analytics

Terms

Analyses history and present to drive current business requirements

Analyses historical data to drive current business

Application

Suitable for all large-scale companies 

Suitable for all companies where productivity and future growth are the goals

Usage

For present business operations

For future business operations

Tools Used

TIBCO

PowerBI 

SAP Business Objects

QlikSense

Word processing

MS Visio

MS Office Tools 

Google docs

What Is Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence is an infrastructure comprising strategies and technologies used in enterprise industries for collecting and analyzing the existing business data that gives insights into the historical, present, and predictive events of business operations. BI gives comprehensive business metrics to support better decision-making. 

BI frameworks present current, authentic, and visionary views of commercial operations. They mostly utilize the information gathered in an information stockroom/shop and sometimes operational information.

What Is Business Analytics?

Business Analytics is the use of strategies and technologies to explore and extract insights and performance from historical business information for successfully driving future business plans, meeting customer needs, and increasing productivity.

It works on unused bits of knowledge and provides an understanding of business performance on the basis of information and measurable strategies.

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Key Differences Between Business Intelligence and Business Analytics

Now that you know the definitions of the two terms let's explore a complete comparison of business intelligence vs business analytics. 

Current Circumstances vs Future Events

The focus on the occurrence of events is the primary distinction between business intelligence vs business analytics. While BI concentrates on current and past events recorded in the data, BA focuses mostly on what is more likely to happen in the future. The two practices have different timelines for applying the results while using the same data.

When your analysis concerns what is happening now and why Business Intelligence is your choice for data management, contrastingly, Business Analytics answers the question: What is likely to happen next?

Use BI to form strategies for current situations and BA for strategies that would impact future operations. 

Structured Data vs Semi-structured Data

BI applications are more suitable for structured data from enterprise applications like ERP and Financial Software Systems. It helps get insights from past financial transactions. 

Business Analytics application suits both unstructured and semi-structured data, transforms them into meaningful data before analysis, and then gets insights from that data with thorough predictive analytics. 

Descriptive vs Predictive Approach

Business Intelligence answers the two main questions:

  • What has happened in the past?
  • What is happening now and why?

It is descriptive and gives you detailed information. 

On the other hand, Business Analytics is mostly about predictive analytics. It identifies patterns in business data, suggests why things are happening, and forecasts the likelihood of future events. Its goal is to predict future events based on what's already occurred. It helps formulate better decisions and be prepared accordingly. 

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Reporting vs Applying

Date viewing and reporting is another point of difference between Business Intelligence vs Business Analytics. BI is simplified and has data arranged into easily comprehensible reports that brief the viewer on what is happening. Interactive dashboards, charts, and easy-to-read reports are commonly used with BI results. 

Business Analytics takes a step further and goes on to reveal why things are happening by employing data applications and statistical analysis. 

Analysts vs Managers

When studying Business Intelligence vs Business Analysts, it is crucial to consider the end users. While BI tools present understandable data to accountants, managers, and marketers, i.e., people without technical expertise. This information helps them make informed business decisions without needing the assistance of a data professional. Business Intelligence requires basic math for calculating results, and the rest is done using BI software. It relies on the formulation of mathematical models, Machine Learning, querying, and artificial intelligence for proceedings. 

Business analytics is a little more demanding. It requires more information to parse and interpret useful information. Thus, it can efficiently be handled by data analysts with an analytics skill set who know how to build machine learning capabilities and have sound software application knowledge.

New vs Existing Analytics Strategy

Business Intelligence and Business Analytics go hand in hand. Initially, companies ease their way into analytics by enforcing a BI strategy. It sets the pace with efficient collection, storing and structuring of data. It is only after the business intelligence strategy is adopted that the businesses dive deeper into data with Business Analytics. Thus, the same data gathered and stored during the Business Intelligence can be used as inputs for predictive Business Analytics by analysts. 

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Conclusion

Business Intelligence vs Business Analytics is all about one being more advanced than the other. So, a firm command of the simpler– Business Intelligence is a prerequisite for diving into the more advanced– business analytics. In other words, BI tends to serve as a basis for BA. 

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