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Business Intelligence vs. Business Analytics

Jason Li
Sr. Software Development Engineer
Skilled Angular and .NET developer, team leader for a healthcare insurance company.
August 27, 2019

Business intelligence with analytics gives a complete picture of how to approach a market & stay afloat

Analyzing data through various processes and taking the appropriate measures to boost the business is referred to as business analytics. It deals with researching about an idea or a proposal by gathering information through data mining, financial forecast, and drawing prediction models on statistical analysis while optimizing various techniques used for market research. By proper analysis, an organization can identify various data patterns that provide them with insights into the appropriate course of action for the betterment of the business. Through these techniques, companies can strategize various business ideas, which will benefit them by bringing in a profit. The true skill of analytics lies in the way the information is converted into usable knowledge, driving the business forward to obtain the estimated goal.

The initial step before starting a business is the collection of a large amount of data & information regarding the field of trading that is being considered. Once an organization starts a business, lots of additional data get generated. Managing these data sets efficiently is the crux behind building a sound & winning business strategy. This is where the analytics & intelligence of business merge connecting past and future information, which gets converted into knowledge.

What is Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence is a collective term that gives an idea of how business works. This deals with various technological applications, practices, and skills needed by an enterprise to analyze & apply a vast amount of data. Past data is relevant & useful as it provides data which can be extrapolated and can be used for forecasting models. The common questions in regards to this include what would have happened with a particular strategy in the past with whom being responsible for the observed outcome; with the period at which the related incidents happened & how many people, products or services were affected and in which way, due to this particular strategy. This data is analyzed using KPI (Key Performance Indicator), statistical tools, and ad hoc queries. Once it is properly gone through, a course of action is implemented on ways the business could be enhanced without losing any of the positive strategies. For instance, business intelligence provides the data of sales, returns, costs, customer feedback, reviews & satisfaction. This data gives the organization an idea about which area should be improved and by what level.


Key Performance Indicators give an organization, the root cause of their issues & also, the areas where the firm is strong, from a market perspective. Initially, the company identifies a set of key performance indicators they have to monitor. A CEO of an organization will be more focused on the profitability of the products and services; whereas, a sales executive will be more interested in how the sales can be improved for the particular products & services, and the target audience, along with a sound marketing plan. Once the key areas are identified, the next focus will be on the ways to improve their current strategy to get the desired results. Then, the companies will keep observing the new ideas they have implemented with their effect on the market and target audience. If something is amiss, a change in strategy will be in the cards with a final assessment of goals they have achieved through the changes brought forth.

Some of the software programs employed by firms to analyze data for business intelligence include SAP business intelligence, MicroStrategy, Sisense, SAS business intelligence & Yellowfin BI. SAP business intelligence platform is a program that enables visualization & reporting under a single domain. MicroStrategy provides software for analysis of a vast amount of data to make an educated decision. Sisense is used for dashboard creation & also for data analysis. All five business intelligent software is used for creating detailed reports & data analysis.

A focus on Business Analytics

What would be the main parameters that are required by a firm to taste success in whatever business they enroll in? The pitfalls & triumphs based on plans and speculated data. The reasons behind the success or failure of a product or service. Does the data suggest an elevation in sales or a slump? The major changes that could happen if one or more parameters are changed. An in-depth analysis of data which can uncover more information which might be revelations or more questions. Business analytics deals with all these situations. Business analytics tools try to give clarity to the speculations based on the on-field data. It also helps with unearthing more data through projections, and forecasting. The information can be helpful for statistical or quantitative analysis, devising models to predict the nature of future data, and for optimizing an entire business plan.

Business analytics can collectively include various technological applications and skillful practices that interacts with past information. This will ultimately result in uncovering patterns & insights, which can be useful in revising a new business plan that is more firm than the previous one. Risk assessment and analysis is one of the major strengths of business analytics. A company can foresee elements or situations that could become potentially risky for them, and hence plan for such events beforehand. If it seems as things might get out of hand, they can even formulate an exit plan or precautions in case of insolvency that can lead to bankruptcy. These various possibilities can be optimized by the firm so that they will be prepared for any adverse situations or events.

Business analytics tools enrolled by firms include Microsoft Office Suite, Google Docs, Rational RequisitePro, Balsamiq, and SWOT analysis. MS Excel is mostly used by firms to do statistical or quantitative analysis. Google Docs helps in the creation of spreadsheets, and any kind of documents. Rational RequisitePro is a software that is used by business analysts to integrate tasks, processes & resources required for a project. It also helps to adapt to various changes that are brought forth by unexpected business situations. It improves the quality of work by defining practicality. Impact analysis can be done through this software, which helps businesses personally with the clarity of the project they do. This will in turn help firms to modify their plans to attract more target audience. This software helps efficient communication with stakeholders by intimating them about important decisions that affect the company. Balsamiq mockups is a design software to prepare detailed digital sketches which facilitates a deeper understanding of data. SWOT analysis is analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats of a business organization. This helps the company to identify the areas they need to improve & also about their direct competitors in the market. In effect, all these tools are useful for firms to stay abreast of their competition & make strategies for any unforeseen circumstances.


Hence, business intelligence and business analytics are an integration of data from past, present & future. They both are highly dependent on each other. It is a continuous flow of data from information to knowledge. As mentioned before, business intelligence deals with past data while business analytics deals with present as well as future data. Software programs have been developed for both these entities for the ease of its use. Business intelligent tools help in creating detailed reports & analyzing these data; whereas business analytics tools are developed to manufacture data that would be estimates & plans for the long run of business with an eye on achieving goals. So, as mentioned, the use of both intelligence and analytics is essential for a firm to thrive in the world of business.