Understanding the Differences Between Business Intelligence and Business Analytics

Although they are certainly similar, most IT experts would agree that business intelligence (BI) and business analytics (BA) are not the same. The differences are pretty nuanced and both are highly data-driven processes, but as a general rule business intelligence uses data to evaluate what has already happened whereas business analytics uses data to anticipate future trends.

More specifically, business intelligence allows businesses to better understand what’s working well and where there is room for improvement based on what has already occurred. Insights obtained through the BI process can help you make informed business-critical decisions based on a set of known outcomes. For example, if you know a particular promotion was significantly more or less successful than your original forecasts had predicted, business intelligence allows you to go back and better understand the internal efficiencies and deficiencies.

Business analytics, on the other hand, uses historical data to identify potential future trends through the use of predictive modeling, quantitative analysis and data mining. BA also can help business owners and managers better understand what factors drive business change and support growth. Going back to the example above, if you have a promotion that woefully underperformed your projections, you can use business analytics to better predict how consumers will react to a future promotion. Additionally, BA can help business owners stay on top of and take advantage of ongoing changes in the business landscape.

This difference may seem academic to some, but the reality is that businesses that have learned to effectively harness their data to make both BI and BA decisions almost always have a leg up on the competition. Let the team at ATB help you put your big data to good use.

Give us a call today to learn more about our business intelligence and business analytics solutions or to schedule a free consultation.

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