Is the Same BI and Analytics?
If you were driving your car, what would you do? Drive using only the rear view mirror or drive looking forward to know what’s coming?
Well, that’s what you are doing if making business decisions relying only on reports from Business Intelligence tools. To be proactive you will need Analytics to know what is coming next.
There is a lot of confusion in the market today about the concept of Analytics and Business Intelligence (Reporting), that are usually taken as synonyms.
Overall when all the business solutions now include some “Analytics”, in spite of this being only traditional reports that do not use predictive models.
That is why I will first define each one and then I will present their differences, similarities and how complement each other.
Business Intelligence refers to all the processes involved in transform the data into valuable information and present it in a simple and useful way for the company.
Is here where it comes the report creation, Reports are a set of data about specific business subjects that allow to follow-through the operation and support the decision making process with information. Reports make presentation and analysis simpler, summarizing and grouping data.
Analytics on the other hand also requires gathering the data and preparing it for analysis. By analysis I mean to apply statistical techniques. Statistics is divided basically in two, descriptive and predictive.
Descriptive statistics allows us to know the characteristics of data and the relationships it has between each other.
Predictive statistics takes into account the historic sales to predict what would be the future sales, according to the past trends. This is done by identifying patterns in the data that with a manual analysis would not be possible to discover, and if we would, when we get the results will not be current anymore, due to the amount and complexity of information that has to be analyzed.
For anything to become a trend, it has to be something that has been repeating in a consistent way over time and that allows us to consider it for the future. That is why analytics always requires historic data, the more historic data the better the outcomes.
To make decisions based on BI is like if you were driving your car using only the rear mirror and realized what hit you only after it had actually hit you and you see it on the back and without knowing what comes next.
Decide based on Analytics will be like be walking and looking to the front and if at the distance you see an obstacle, you will be able to avoid it before you hit it.
Business Intelligence and Analytics are similar in that both require data and present results in a report format to support the decision making process with information.
Are different in the outcomes and the decisions that could be taken based on each one. Business Intelligence shows only data from the past over which you can only react to what has already happened, while Analytics uses the same data from the past to predict what will happen in the future, allowing taking better preventive decisions rather than corrective ones.
Both are a natural complement, the two need data and require data preparations to make their analysis and present results. The reports could be about what already happened as well as what will happen.
Then, the difference between Business Intelligence and Analytics is that BI creates reports based on the past and allows taking reactive decisions while with Analytics, the past is analyzed to be able to predict the future and take proactive decisions.
Let’s keep the conversation going, like this post and let me know your thoughts about it.