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6 minutes read

Business Intelligence Vs. Analytics: What’s The Difference?

By Robert Kazmi
By Robert Kazmi
6 minutes read

Business intelligence and business analytics are two terms that get used a lot when it comes to processing business data and data analysis. However, while data analytics plays a prominent role in both business intelligence and business analytics, these terms differ.

If you want to use statistical analysis and data science to improve your business operations, understanding business intelligence, business analytics, and the key differences between the two concepts is critical. 

This post will take a close look at business analytics and business intelligence. In addition to defining the terms, we will explore the key differences between the concepts so your business can get the most value from its data analytics

Defining Business Intelligence and Business Analytics

Business intelligence (BI) and business analytics (BA) are two excellent data management approaches that can help organizations draw valuable insights from big data. However, which option is better for the needs of your data analytics? Should you be using BI and BA together? 

Let’s take a closer look at business intelligence and business analytics and find out. 

What Is Business Intelligence? 

Business intelligence is a set of tools, processes, technologies, and methodologies that transform raw data into actionable information for improved decision-making.

The term business intelligence can also be used to describe the output or actionable insights produced by BI tools. Since business intelligence can be used to refer to the process and the outcome, it is vital to be clear when discussing this topic. 

Business leaders utilize BI tools to collect and store data related to current business operations. The output produced by business intelligence tools is used to maximize workflows, improve decision-making, and ultimately achieve business goals. 

What Is Business Analytics? 

Business analytics involves a greater emphasis on statistics and prediction. Organizations utilize predictive analytics to develop future strategies for growth. 

Business analytics and business intelligence often get confused and jumbled together because business intelligence processes can utilize business analytics tools for predictive analysis. 

Business analytics tools can be used for various tasks, including forecasting, regression modeling, text mining, image analysis, factor analytics, and more. Often organizations will have to hire data scientists or skilled data analysts to use these statistical tools. 

Business Intelligence Vs. Business Analytics: Making the Comparison

To truly understand the differences between business intelligence and business analytics, it is helpful to compare them directly. Here are the key differences between business intelligence and business analytics:

  • Time frame
  • Analysis
  • End users
  • Usage
  • Complexity 

Time Frame 

One of the most significant differences between business intelligence and business analytics is the focus on when business events occur. Business intelligence is interested in current and past events, while business analytics is concerned with predicting future events

Both business intelligence and business analytics rely on the same historical data, but they apply the results of that data over different time periods. 

Business intelligence helps organizations strategize for the moment through actionable data. Business analytics utilizes data insights to create future strategies for business operations. 

If you are concerned with what is happening right now and why, business intelligence is the discipline you need. However, if you are concerned with what will probably happen next, business analytics is the path to choose. 


The difference in analysis between business intelligence and business analytics can best be summed up as descriptive vs. predictive

Business intelligence is descriptive. It tells your organization what happened, what’s currently happening, and why. Business analytics is predictive. It tells your organization what will likely happen based on current trends and patterns in the data. 

Both approaches analyze data, but they do so in different ways. For example, past and present business analysis is just as crucial to the success of your organization as predictive analytics and what may happen in the future. 

End Users 

The intended end users of business intelligence and business analytics tools differ. For example, business intelligence tools present data that non-technical users, such as marketers, managers, accountants, etc., can understand. In contrast, business analytics is more technical and often requires a data analyst

Business intelligence solutions prioritize data visualization, making it very easy for non-technical end users to understand the data and make informed decisions based on BI reports.

Generally, your organization will need business analytics professionals to parse the information produced by BA tools and interpret it accurately. Both tools are excellent for organizations, but business analytics is typically more technical and requires a skilled analyst to fully utilize them. 


Business intelligence and business analytics are used in different manners. For example, BI is used primarily for reporting data, whereas BA goes further and applies the data in a new way

Business intelligence tools produce easy-to-read charts and graphs, and these tools often have an interactive dashboard. This makes reporting data easy for team members. 

Business analytics goes a bit further than reporting. Trends are analyzed to determine how data can be applied to future endeavors, initiatives, or business actions. 


Business analytics is more in-depth and complex than business intelligence. Therefore, if your business is interested in utilizing analytics to improve business performance, it is good to start with business intelligence.

Starting with business intelligence gives your organization a feel for its data and demonstrates how current and past data can be used to benefit the business. 

From here, as your organization gets more comfortable with business intelligence, business analytics can be integrated into your business intelligence processes. Your organization can dive deeper into data and predictive analytics with BA tools. 

While BA tools are often integrated into BI processes, business analytics is more complex and technical than business intelligence. 

Final Thoughts 

If your organization wants to improve decision-making through data, business intelligence and business analytics will be necessary. You don’t have to choose between the two. Your organization can use both effectively. 

However, if your organization is new to data, it is better to start with business intelligence and integrate business analytics as your teams get more comfortable with data. If you want to learn more about big data and analytics, contact an experienced data partner like Koombea.

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