Understanding The Difference Between Business Intelligence And Business Analytics

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More and more businesses are turning to advanced software solutions to help them manage their data and stay ahead of the competition. Even though there are numerous options available to do this, business intelligence (BI) and business analytics (BA) solutions are most commonly used to handle and interpret data.

While the two systems are responsible for completing different tasks, they overlap in some aspects and can work together to produce simplified information on where company improvements need to be made. Before implementing these tools, however, it’s important to understand the difference between business intelligence and business analytics to see which would work best for your business. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is BI And What Does It Do

Forrester defines BI as, “a set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that leverage the output of information management processes for analysis, reporting, performance management, and information delivery.” In simplified terms, BI software works by accessing your company’s data and organizing it in a way so that it’s more comprehensible and can be used to identify big trends and patterns.

Using BI, you’re able to see how your business is doing and make better-informed decisions to help maintain, optimize and streamline current operations. By supporting data-driven business decisions, BI tools can help companies improve and maintain both operation efficiency and productivity.

With real-time dashboards, readable reports can be generated in minutes to ensure hasty decisions aren’t made without insight into the company’s status.

Unlike business analytics tools, BI software doesn’t offer suggestions or actions to take in order to make changes. Instead, it offers reports that allow you to learn from past mistakes and make educated decisions moving forward. On its own, BI is more of a trial and error tool where you must replicate what works over time and change what does not. Ultimately, however, the decisions are up to you.

What Is Business Analytics And What Does It Do

Similar to BI, business analytics looks at your company’s data and creates simplified reports to easily understand your company’s status. Instead of providing insight on what has happened throughout your company’s history, BA explains why certain things have happened by pointing out the contributing factors. BA tools can then use that information to offer you predictions of how the data will change in the future based on the decisions you make.

The purpose of this BA software is to provide you with useful suggestions to improve business planning and boost future performance. Unlike BI tools, BA doesn’t leave it up to you to figure out what changes should be made in order to improve outcomes. How BA and BI Solutions Correlate

Both BA and BI tools can be valuable to your business in different ways, so it’s important to know which would be most suitable for your company’s needs. BI tools are best for those in need of a descriptive data analysis, while BA tools are more suitable for predictive analysis. Often, businesses will choose the best of both worlds and set up the systems to work together. Here’s why that’s the best choice.

When you are trying to determine why something has happened such as a drop in subscribers, you must first know what happened and how. This is how business intelligence and business analytics solutions correlate as BI offers both the what and how while BA offers the why. Even though they both analyze your business data, they each offer different perspectives on the results. For this reason, both BI and BA are essential to the success of your business.

How Business Intelligence And Business Analytics Solutions Apply To Business

The use of both BI and BA is what separates the companies that succeed from those that fail. Instead of only using a single perspective of your data to make decisions, the combination of these tools allows you to see it from all sides leading to more informed determinations. An article published in Michigan State University Online summarizes it this way, “BI is needed to run the business while BA is needed to change the business.” Having the ability to do both would lead to a business that was practically invincible, and surely one that would beat the competition.

When you combine the use of BI and BA tools, you’re not only able to understand the factors that are associated with your business’ success or failure but you’re able to understand what’s causing this to happen. Knowing the cause allows you to make the necessary changes needed to keep your business going as well as give you an idea of how your marketplace will do in the future.


Now that you understand the difference between BI and BA solutions and how they work together, you can determine how to proceed. While it’s wise to have at least one data analysis tool put in place, combining the two systems will give you the competitive edge that will push your brand towards success.

The LaunchWorks LaunchBI platform provides a universal interface that combines BI and BA tools into one management interface. To learn more about LaunchWorks, click here or schedule a free demonstration.

About the Author

Jason Becker runs the Cloud and Analytics PMO at LaunchWorks, a Stone Door Group Company. Stone Door Group helps enterprises of all sizes and phases of their Cloud and Analytics transformation journey to a modern digital business.To speak more with consultants like Jason, email us at letsdothis@stonedoorgroup.com.