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Difference Between Business Intelligence and Analytics

Difference Between Business Analytics and Business Intelligence

You’ll have heard the term ‘business intelligence’ as well as the the term ‘business analytics’, and you may be in the midst of a time consuming head swirl as you try to decode what is the difference between business analytics and business intelligence. This is because people insist on repeating that there is a difference, even if they’ll admit that the applications of both business intelligence and analytics overlap – thus leading to a tornado of confusion and bewilderment.

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Business Intelligence and Analytics

The truth is, the timeless debate of business analytics v business intelligence is not only exhausting, but also redundant and utterly pointless, with many people – including accepted experts and commentators – having different – and all too often vague – ideas of what each term comprises. Without a fixed definition of the difference between business analytics and business intelligence, the arguments are set to continue ad nauseam.

For example, some might tell you that business analytics is meant to comprise data warehousing, analytic applications, business intelligence, as well as enterprise information management.

Others might tell you that business intelligence is concerned with collecting data past and present that helps companies to recognise trends and patterns, and to iron out mistakes. IBM surely has the most confusing definition of business intelligence and analytics of them all (something about triangles).

But these conclusions are by no means universal and therein lies the root of the problem, as well as all the confusion. Nobody knows what any of them really mean, yet they insist on carrying on the meaningless debate.

At the end of it all, business intelligence and analytics are both used for the way in which they assist businesses with making better decisions by analysing data. Their essence is the same – we can all agree on that; but people insist on having disagreements with their methods.

Business Analytics vs Business Intelligence

To add to the needless puzzlement, the problem of the continuing business analytics v business intelligence war of ridiculous attrition is exacerbated in lieu of the fact that analysts like to tinker with terms and definitions. As though to magically imbue their company with a sprinkling of motivational pixie dust, they replaced ‘old fashioned’ terms – in this case, business intelligence – with new ones, such as business analytics.

For what reason? Well, perhaps because in their heads they think it will individualise the way they are going about things, as well as their products, and also because new ‘buzz words’ create a renewed sense of urgency, vigour and dynamism at the company. Maybe they do – just maybe – but they simultaneously confuse everyone else – as well as themselves.

The truth is, if anyone says to you that business analytics is forward-looking, whilst business intelligence is backwards-looking, they’re just plain wrong. Business intelligence draws conclusion from past and present data, yes. But doesn’t this data then help business to work out future trends, and prevent fundamental problems from occurring in the years ahead? Anyone with the gift of the gab might be able to convince you that business intelligence is somehow vastly different to business analytics – but they’re talking nonsense.

Final Thoughts

Even I’m exhausting the topic of the business analytics vs business intelligence by rabbiting on about it. But this needs to be said. The fundamental here is that it doesn’t matter what these methods are called. In ten years’ time business intelligence and analytics will be added to be a third definition, which really will put the cat among the business pigeons. The only thing that matters is taking hold of your project and implementing methods that help you and your business work stronger together. Call it what you want. Don’t debate meanings.

Learn what is the difference between business analytics and business intelligence today!