You’ve most likely seen the abbreviations BI and BA referring to what’s known as business intelligence and business analytics. You might mistake these abbreviations to simply mean someone has smarts or analytical skills in the professional world. 

However, business intelligence (BI) and business analytics (BA) describe highly technical professions where critical data analysis is required. These professionals understand how to obtain, organize, and interpret data critical to companies’ success. 

But what’s the difference between business intelligence and business analytics? And does it make sense for your company to use business intelligence outsourcing? Continue reading to find out. 

What Is Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence is also known as BI and it utilizes data software and an organization’s information to give executive-level representatives access to information that informs various business decisions. From the provided data, companies can make strategic maneuvers and streamline workflow with better communication mediums, technologies, and procedures. 

What Is Business Analytics?

Business analytics is also known as BA and it describes a company’s use of their historical data to make decisions and plan strategies for the future. This historical data is imperative for businesses trying to create business plans that incorporate smart goals. 

What Is the Difference Between the Two?

The primary differences between BI and BA reside in the questions they aim to answer. Business intelligence focuses on identifying the what and how of past events and business analytics focuses on the why of past events. Business intelligence also focuses on how to improve operations in the present while business analytics focuses on how to adopt a strategy for the future. 

What Are the Similarities Between Business Intelligence and Business Analytics?

Business intelligence and business analytics experience some overlap. They collect and analyze data and aim to visually represent the data via graphs and charts. They also provide diagnostic information that can respond to potential problems within business operations. 

Why Do Businesses Need Both Business Intelligence and Business Analytics?

Improve Business Operations 

Business intelligence and analytics let business owners evaluate their current efficiency and make changes in their operations based on the data. This data gives them valuable insight into areas for increased productivity. For example, a business owner reviews the data and discovers certain restrictions slow the supply chain for their products. Looking at this data, they can pivot to different transportation methods to bypass those restrictions. 

Lower Operations Cost 

Reviewing operations costs helps businesses identify procedures reducing their margin. Studying this data shows businesses which operations they can automate or outsource. Also, by reviewing operations they have insight into their costly business processes. For example, a business owner might be able to identify a storage location that rarely gets used. They will decide to sell it and it will save on costly bills and property taxes. 

Simplifying Data 

Data software used in business intelligence and analytics helps sort and organize all of your data in an easily understandable way. For example, a company might use a collection of survey data and site visits to create a data set analyzing user experience for their website. Data analysts will unpack this data and create a visually interactive presentation so non-data analysts can easily comprehend its contents. This simplifies collaboration. 

Track Customer Data

Through this simplified organization process, businesses can file customer feedback and other surveys to monitor their customer satisfaction over time and provide a timely response. Customer data is one of the most critical data points businesses can analyze. It can lead to significant changes in your business’s operations and how you approach the sales funnel, resulting in an improved bottom line.

Tracks Employee Performance 

One of the most distinctive benefits of business analytics and intelligence is the ability to track employee performance and develop employee incentives from the data. Using business analytics and intelligence, a business can eliminate a drawn out onboarding process that increases employee productivity and lowers turnover rates. 

Also Read: 5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Improves Business Processes

What Does a Business Intelligence Analysts Do?

Business intelligence analysts collect data, analyze it, and share it in a meaningful way that resonates among their colleagues and superiors. The details of a business intelligence analyst’s day include the following: 

  • Collecting business intelligence data: business intelligence analysts collect data from numerous sources including industry reports, public information, field reports, or purchased market data. They are in charge of where to look for the data and the information may contain relevant technological trends or emerging markets in the industry. 
  • Organiza the data: after collecting the data, business intelligence analysts decide where to store it. The analyst might also need to establish operational procedures that utilize various databases and technical support.
  • Data analysis: Once analysts decide where to store the critical data, they have to analyze it. This analysis impacts the business’s strategy and operations.
  • Utilize the data: The results of the data analysis should direct the company’s strategy. 
  • Prepare analytical reports: The reports should convey the meaning of the data is an easily understood way so everyone within the organization can brainstorm about the correct measures. 

Because of the highly communicative nature of the business intelligence analyst position, these candidates need exceptional interpersonal skills. They need to have a vast network of connections that provides them with valuable information and they need strong internal relationships with their colleagues and superiors. 

Key Takeaways 

The most important thing to understand about both business intelligence and business analytics is that it pays substantial dividends both in how your business runs its operations and its customer relationships. Though they have somewhat different data sets, BI and BA aim to accomplish much of the same outcome: eliminating inefficiencies and improving your bottom line.