Business Analytics Business Intelligence: 5 Critical Differences

Davor DSouza • Last Modified: December 29th, 2022

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Every day, companies generate enormous amounts of data. You need methods and tools in Business Analytics Business Intelligence to turn your data into actionable insights in order to make better decisions, identify problems, and be profitable. Business Intelligence (BI) and its subsets, Business Analytics and Data Analytics are all data management solutions used to understand and generate insights from historical and current data.

But what is the difference between these solutions, and which one is best suited to your company’s requirements? The distinctions between BI, Data Analytics, and Business Analytics are subtle, and the terms are frequently used interchangeably, adding to the confusion.

To manage these workloads, maintain profitability, and remain competitive, businesses are increasingly turning to advanced software solutions. The most widely used Data Management solutions are Business Intelligence tools and Business Analytics Software. Business Analysts and Software buyers alike frequently inquire about the key distinctions between Business Analytics Business Intelligence. Before we get into the specifics, let’s start with some basic definitions.

Table of Contents

What is Business Intelligence?

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Business Intelligence (BI) refers to the strategies and technologies used by businesses to analyze data and manage business information. Reporting, Online Analytical Processing, Analytics, Dashboard Development, Data Mining, Process Mining, Complex Event Processing, Business Performance Management, Benchmarking, Text Mining, Predictive Analytics, and Prescriptive Analytics are all common functions of business intelligence technologies.

BI tools can handle large amounts of structured and sometimes unstructured data to assist in the identification, development, and creation of new strategic business opportunities. They want to make it simple to interpret large amounts of data. Identifying new opportunities and implementing an effective strategy based on insights can give businesses a competitive market advantage and long-term stability, as well as assist them in making strategic decisions.

Enterprises can use Business Intelligence to support a wide range of business decisions, from operational to strategic. Product positioning and pricing are examples of fundamental operational decisions. At the most general level, strategic business decisions involve priorities, goals, and directions.

BI is most effective in all cases when it combines data derived from the market in which a company operates (external data) with data derived from company sources internal to the business, such as financial and operations data (internal data).

Key Features of Business Intelligence

Here are some notable features of BI:

  • Self-Service Reporting: Due to the complexity of traditional business intelligence, only a small number of employees within an organization have the technical expertise required to create and maintain reports.
  • Fast Implementation: One of the major drawbacks of traditional business intelligence software is that it frequently necessitates a complex, time-consuming implementation process. This process is made even more difficult for businesses that lack the in-house capabilities to carry it out themselves.
  • Analyses in Memory: In terms of powerful yet simple functionality, in-memory analysis can be one of the most important business intelligence features. The in-memory analysis enables line of business users to analyze data without the need for special skills or the assistance of IT specialists.
  • Data Visualisation: Data Visualization has been a key component in the overall effort to make Business Intelligence more mainstream and widely available. In recent years, it has become one of the most important business intelligence features.
  • Advanced Security: Without a doubt, one of the most discussed Business Intelligence features, particularly when it comes to Cloud BI solutions, is security. Concerns about security have previously led to businesses preferring on-premise business intelligence solutions; however, these concerns are starting to fade as vendors offer more robust and stringent security measures.
  • OLAP: In addition, OLAP data is organized hierarchically and stored in cubes rather than tables. OLAP’s functionality makes it one of the must-have business intelligence features to look for in a vendor.

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What is Business Analytics?

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Analytics have been used in business since Frederick Winslow Taylor implemented management exercises in the late 1800s. In his newly established assembly line, Henry Ford timed each component. However, when computers were used in decision support systems in the late 1960s, analytics began to gain traction.

With the development of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, Data Warehouses, and a plethora of other software tools and processes since then, analytics has changed and evolved.

Business Analytics (BA) refers to the skills, technologies, and practices used for iteratively exploring and investigating past business performance in order to gain insight and drive business planning. Business Analytics is concerned with gaining new insights and understanding of business performance through the use of data and statistical methods.

Business Intelligence, on the other hand, has traditionally focused on using a consistent set of metrics to both measure past performance and guide business planning. In other words, Business Intelligence is concerned with the description, whereas Business Analytics is concerned with prediction and prescription.

Key Features of Business Analytics

Key features of BA are as follows:

  • Analyze Data from Various Sources: Cloud applications, marketing automation tools, and CRM software are all examples of this.
  • Find patterns in datasets using Advanced Analytics and Statistics: These patterns can help you predict future trends and gain new insights into the consumer and their behavior.
  • Keep an eye on KPIs and trends as they change in real-time: This allows businesses to not only have all of their data in one place but also to reach quick and accurate conclusions.
  • Make decisions based on the most up-to-date information: With BA providing such a vast amount of data to back up your decisions, you can be confident that you are fully informed for a variety of scenarios.

Business Analytics Business Intelligence Key Differences

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Both “Business Intelligence” (BI) and “Analytics” technology solutions provide insights based on past and present data in order to shape decisions that will help achieve business objectives.

Both types of solutions aid in the organization of data and its presentation in the form of effective visualizations. When it comes to the differences, some experts believe that BI is useful for running a business, whereas analytics is required if you want to change the business.

Let’s take a look at five key distinctions between Business Analytics and Business Intelligence. These are given below:

1) Current Events vs Future Prospects

The focus on when events occur is the primary distinction between Business Analytics Business Intelligence. Business Intelligence is concerned with current and historical events captured in data. Business Analytics is concerned with what is most likely to occur in the future. The two practices use the same data, but the timeframe for implementing the results differs.

This distinction can be summarised in a few questions:

  • What is going on right now, and why is it happening? (Intelligence Gathering)
  • What is likely to happen next? (Analysis of Business)

By making data actionable, BI assists businesses in developing strategies for current situations. The data is broken down so that a specific question about what is happening now can be answered. BA employs data insights to develop strategies that impact future operations. The goal is to improve productivity and the systems that are already in place.

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2) Predictive vs Descriptive

Business Analytics Business Intelligence differs in how data is used and the analysis it provides. Business Intelligence is intended to tell you what has happened, what is happening now, and why. It describes something. Predictive analytics, on the other hand, is a type of Business Analytics.

It detects trends and patterns in Business Analytics data that indicate why things are happening and whether similar outcomes will occur in the future. The ultimate goal is to predict what will happen based on what has already happened and then make decisions based on that prediction.

3) Analysts vs Managers

Another point of distinction between Business Analytics Business Intelligence is the end-user. Business Intelligence tools present data in such a way that marketers, accountants, and managers with little technical knowledge can decipher it and make sound business decisions.

Without the assistance of a data professional, key data points are automatically visualized within BI tools. Business Analytics is a bit more complicated. More work is required to extract and interpret the useful information. It’s a job that’s better suited to someone with data analysis experience.

4) Reporting vs Implementing

Data is used and viewed differently depending on whether you’re conducting Business Analytics Business Intelligence, as previously stated. BI has been simplified. The data is organized into easy-to-read reports that inform users of what is going on. (Dashboards and charts are also popular.)

However, with BA, the data is taken a step beyond reporting. Data applications and statistical analysis are used to delve deeper into trends and figure out why things are happening. As a result, it’s a case of reporting data versus applying data in a novel way.

5) Existing Analytics Strategy vs New Analytics Strategy

Many businesses begin their journey into Business Analytics Business Intelligence by instituting a business intelligence strategy. It’s a good first step toward developing a strategy for gathering, storing, and structuring data. Once the Business Intelligence strategy is in place and you have a sense of what the data is telling you, many businesses will begin to delve deeper into Predictive Business Analytics. In other words, before diving into more advanced BA techniques that answer complex questions, it’s a good idea to first master BI.

In fact, BI can serve as the foundation for BA. Analysts can later use the data collected and stored during the BI process for Predictive Analysis.

Benefits of Business Analytics Business Intelligence

Here are the advantages of using Business Analytics Business Intelligence:

  • Strategic Decisions that are Well-Informed: The ability to make informed strategic decisions based on factual information is the first and most important benefit of Business Analytics Business Intelligence. According to experts, BI and data analytics speed up the decision-making process for businesses by 5x.
  • Recognize Trends and Patterns: As previously stated, one of the most significant advantages of Business Analytics Business Intelligence is the ability to make informed data-driven decisions. This benefit is directly related to the fact that analytics provide businesses with technologies for detecting trends and patterns that will lead to resource and process optimization. Business Analytics Business Intelligence enables users to gain a more in-depth understanding of their businesses.
  • Increase in Operational Efficiency: Microsoft, the world’s largest technology company, was looking for a way to boost workplace productivity and collaboration. A Senior Researcher from the company conducted a study to understand the common problems encountered by remote workers on Microsoft for this purpose. According to the findings, the main challenges were communication in planned meetings, ad hoc conversations, awareness of teammates and their work, and building trust relationships between teammates.
  • Smarter and More Timely Reporting: The final benefit of Business Analytics Business Intelligence is related to Data Management and Visualization. One of the capabilities of BI tools is that they enable a more efficient reporting process, as well as to make Data Analytics accessible to everyone without the need for prior technical knowledge.


Business Analytics Business Intelligence enables companies to analyze data and make more informed decisions. Depending on which one is used, those decisions will have an impact on current or future operations. And, while BI tools are becoming more powerful and capable, data professionals are still required for predictive business analytics.

Companies that require large amounts of data in the case of a Data Warehouse and large amounts of impacting visual reporting should seriously consider Business Intelligence as a tool for running their businesses productively. Starting with a Business Intelligence program and then incorporating Business Analytics to make projections aimed at improving efficiency, revenue generation, and so on in the future is often the best strategy for Business Analytics Business Intelligence.

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Share your experience of learning the differences between Business Analytics Business Intelligence in the comments section below!

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