In an era where data reigns, businesses may not withstand competition if they are not anchored on insights from data. Data is so crucial to organizations that such emerging technologies as cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its sub-branches, the Internet of Things, 5G network, and other big data technologies developed within the last decade came up as a result of the challenges arising around data management. Data influences businesses in three main ways, including informing decision-making, improving operations, and opening up new market opportunities that can be explored to create additional channels of revenue.
Today, businesses generate and collect massive volumes and varieties of data that carry valuable information if well-harnessed. To do this, organizations require advanced data solutions and professionals whose knowledge, skills, and competencies go beyond the mere basics of business analytics. Business analytics and business intelligence tools are among the most common solutions adopted to manage, understand, and gain insight from the vast volumes of data collected by businesses each day.
In this article, we distinguish between business analytics and business intelligence. You can get CBAP Certification in Paris.
What is Business Analytics?
Business analytics is the process of collecting and analyzing historical business data using quantitative techniques to discover trends and patterns that influence decision-making and help make predictions that are useful for formulating future business strategies.
Business analytics employs data mining, statistical analysis, and predictive modeling in that order, to extract information and insight from past data and predict future trends or plan for future change.
Some of the popular techniques employed by data scientists and analysts in business analytics include statistical analysis techniques like regression analysis, correlational analysis, as well as data mining methods like text mining, forecasting analysis, image analysis, and factor analysis. Also, popular business analytics solutions like the SAS Business Analytics suite and Tableau Big Data Analytics have been widely employed by businesses to undertake business analytics. Most if not all BA solutions are integrated with ad-hoc reporting functions which mark the distinction between business analytics (BA) and Business Intelligence (BI).
The data analytics process involves mining, preprocessing, and managing data and is used across various sectors to gain insight and make informed decisions.
What is business intelligence?
Business intelligence, on the other hand, is a technology-based process that involves collecting and analyzing data with the aim of providing insight for decision-making to current improve operations efficiency and strategic decision-making. For instance, business intelligence can be employed to maximize workflow, enhance compliance, optimize specific business operations, and gain a competitive edge for a specific service or product. BI data draws from several sources including the business’ internal IT systems and other external sources, is preprocessed and stored in a data warehouse for analysis and visualization.
A business intelligence solution in addition to being integrated with reporting tools may also include data management, business analytics, and other technologies. In essence, business intelligence is a broader discipline that also incorporates business analytics and data analytics to support informed decision-making. For this reason, business intelligence tools and technologies are wide-ranging and may include statistical analysis and predictive modeling tools often used in business analytics. Good examples of business intelligence tools include spreadsheets, SAP Business Objects, SAS Business Intelligence, Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Oracle BI, Apache Spark, and more.
In summary, business intelligence helps businesses to remain productive, efficient, competitive and focused on achieving their goals.
Business intelligence vs. business analytics
Both business analytics and business intelligence collect and analyze business data to draw insights that are useful for decision-making. Yet, this is perhaps one of the many similarities that they share. While business analytics is focused on analyzing historical data to gain useful insights to predict future trends, business intelligence analyzes historical data to increase current and future business operation efficiency. In the table below we compare business analytics with business intelligence.
|Business Analytics||Business Intelligence|
|Definition||Is a process that employs statistical methods, predictive analytics, and predictive modeling to analyze historical data, gain insight from it to make informed decisions, strategies, and minimize risk.||The technologies, tools, applications, and practices employed to collect, analyze, and present past and current business data with the aim of gaining insight that will help business owners and executives make informed business decisions as regards operational efficiency.|
|Purpose||Used to predict future business trends to improve the business or implement change in the business||Used to manage and optimize current operations|
|Focus||Focus on the future challenges||Focus on the present challenges|
|Techniques used||Uses statistical analytics, predictive analytics, and predictive modeling to anticipate future outcomes by discovering current trends. This helps the business to take the necessary actions in advance.||Uses descriptive analytics and a wide range of data processing and analytics techniques to explain past and current happenings from insights extracted from historical data and gain insights to improve general business operations.|
|Answers to||‘Why’ questions||‘What’ and ‘how’ questions|
|Application||Used for implementing a change on the business model, function, or unit to enhance productivity.||Used to identify pain points in business operations with the aim of streamlining, increasing efficiency, and achieving business goals.|
|Input data||Mostly business intelligence reports||Data from internal business systems and other external sources.|
|Data type||Can be applied to structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data||Mostly applied to structured data from business systems|
|Data analysis||Transforms data into different formats to gain insight.||Consumes data and produces insights on dashboards, reports, tables, and others without changing the data format.|
|Tools||SAP Business Objects, SAS Business Intelligence, Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Oracle BI, Apache Spark, and more.||Spreadsheets, SAP Business Objects, SAS Business Intelligence, Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Oracle BI, Apache Spark|
|Best for||Best for large and small companies whose goal is exploring solutions for future growth, expansion, and productivity.||Large-scale organizations that require solutions for both current and future operations.|
Businesses, both large and small often have to focus on the present and future. Most will employ both business analytics and business intelligence to make the most of the insight they draw from historical and current data. While there are several differences between business analytics and business intelligence, their applications in businesses depend significantly on business needs, trends, while also revealing something about the size and place of a business in the growth curve thus their current priorities.