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Business Intelligence Vs. Business Analytics – Similarities and Differences

Today, the business world has become fiercely competitive, and decision makers can’t rely on gut feeling anymore to create long-term strategies. So a lot of high-level words are thrown around in the boardroom discussions. Such terminologies emphasize the use of data-driven decision making. However, the term business analytics and business intelligence are often used interchangeably. But, there is a stark difference between the two. Although many tools Request Free Proposalused in both the disciplines are similar to each other, there’s a fundamental difference amongst them.

Business analytics

The recent explosion of data available to the business world has posted some serious problems to the decision makers. Firstly, how do they process and make sense of such vast amounts of data? Furthermore, how do they find a correlation between multiple variables and successfully predict the outcome by observing the change in one variable? Solving such problems can provide business executives with useful insights that can help in business planning and boost future performance.

Business analytics makes use of statistical tools, models, and predictive modeling to uncover market trends and figure out why things are happening. Additionally, based on the massive amount of data available, certain tools can also accurately predict what might happen in the future based on historical events.

Popular business analytics solutions: SAP Analytics Suite, Birst BI, Tableau Big Data Analytics, and Pentaho BA.

Business intelligence

Business intelligence makes use of an organization’s own data to assess business performance. The ultimate goal of business intelligence is to understand the business performance in-depth and make informed business decisions by eliminating guesswork.

Business intelligence also covers unstructured data sets such as customer feedback, salesperson suggestions, marketing materials, video files, memos, and company reports. As a whole, business intelligence is concerned with the whats, whens, whys, and hows. By analyzing such unstructured and semi-structured databases, companies can monitor their performance and apply predictive and prescriptive analytics as well.

Popular business intelligence solutions: SAP, IBM Microstrategy, and QlikView.

Is business intelligence the subset of business analytics?

Numerous proponents argue that business intelligence is merely a small part of business analytics. Business analytics is the go-to tool which encompasses information management, data warehousing, and predictive analytics. The argument favors business analytics as business intelligence is just a descriptive part of data analysis.

Is business analytics the subset of business intelligence?

However, some argue that business intelligence is merely a user-facing, self-service end of BI. The dashboards and displays are customized to each business’s tailored requirements. Additionally, many ERP packages allow employees to store, retrieve, and analyze available information to generate their own dashboards to assess business performance.

Business analytics vs. business intelligence

Although there may be a lot of similarities between them, business intelligence uses past data to optimize the current or future operations, whereas business analytics analyzes the past and makes a prediction for the future. Despite their differences, the fact is not if one is superior to the other, rather what the business needs. Companies looking to improve operations and increase efficiency may be well-served by business intelligence tools. On the other hand, if the business processes or model requires a significant overhaul business analytics should be the go-to tool. Also, companies working on extensive data sets and need data warehousing and intuitive reporting must use business intelligence tools.

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Top Seven Business Intelligence Tools to Improve Productivity and Decision-Making Ability

Success in business largely depends on the qualities and vision of leaders and managers. The importance of data had largely been repressed in the past in favor of gut feeling, intuition, and experience of business leaders. That scenario is quickly changing as businesses are realizing the importance of data in driving the profitability and efficiency of an organization. Companies are increasing their reliance on business intelligence tools to monitor data and generate accurate business insights. There are numerous business intelligence tools available in the market. Here are some of the top business intelligence tools you can use to improve business-decision making process:IR_Brochure

Top Business Intelligence Tools

SAP Business Intelligence (BI) Solutions

SAP BI solutions provide a broad suite of solutions, covering every company processes. It offers both on-premise and cloud solutions to give users actionable insights on their fingertip. This tool caters to a diverse set of needs, serving various departments in an organization such as IT, management, operations, and end users. SAP’s predictive analytics tools harness the power of R to facilitate data visualization.


Sisense is one of the most prominent players in the BI tools market. In 2016, they won Best Business Intelligence Software Award from FinancesOnline, a business software review platform. Sisense facilitates data collection from various sources such as Salesforce, Google Analytics, and AdWords to simplify complex data sets and make big data analytics accessible even for small companies and startups.

Yellowfin BI

As quoted on the homepage,”Any BI tell you what happened, Yellowfin tells you Why,” Yellowfin BI offers business intelligence tools that share insights via simple scripts that can be uploaded, embedded, or sent to collaborators. With a vast customer base of over 25,000 clients, they serve to some of the big corporations such as Coca-Cola, Vodafone, HONDA, Xerox, and BMC. It offers FREE trial features with the full version starting at $1,750 a year for five users.

Clear Analytics

Clear Analytics is an Excel-based self-service analytics tool with spreadsheet manageability that allows you to centralize all your data in the process. As it uses the usual Excel reporting, there is a little learning curve involved, and it becomes easy to trace and audit data, ensuring company-wide compliance.


Unlike other business intelligence tools, icCube is a high performance and real-time analytical and visualization engine that is embedded in your application. icCube can seamlessly blend into any companies reporting themes and can be easily integrated into an Enterprise or OEM architecture. They offer a FREE trial business intelligence tool with the enterprise version starting out at €6,500 a year for up to 100 users.


Domo is a cloud-based business management suite that gathers data and insights from multiple sources including databases, spreadsheets, social media, and any existing software solutions. It connects all your crucial business data and facilitates collaboration across various business functions such as finance, operations, marketing, IT, and Sales. They offer FREE trial options for a year for five users with up to 5 million rows.

Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition

Oracle BI is an all-inclusive collection of enterprise BI functionality that fosters a data-driven culture with visually stunning and powerful analytics tools. Its latest version, OBI EE 12c, provides a vast array of features such as advanced analytics, data visualization, mobile platform, in-memory enhancements, and self-service abilities.


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What is Competitive Intelligence and How It Benefits Organizations

Organizations often confuse competitive intelligence with competitor analysis. Analyzing the actions of your competitors is one aspect of the competitive intelligence process, but it includes various stakeholders such as customers, regulators, suppliers, and technology amonga2 others. Businesses can initiate their strategic planning processes based on the insights gained from competitive analysis. Often, companies that dominate the market space understand the importance of competitive intelligence and analytics compared to their counterparts who fail to leverage the benefits it offers. Competitive intelligence is the process of monitoring your competitors, understanding their market plans and behavior to devise and formulate better business strategies, empowering you to anticipate and mitigate potential risks and challenges. Organizations should first understand the concept and then try to fit it into their strategic planning process.

Competitive Intelligence – Information Sources

Competitive intelligence is gaining momentum across several industries such as medical device manufacturing, retail and the gaming industry among others as it helps to understand the market and its competitive landscape. Organizations are increasingly leveraging competitive and market intelligence studies to gain insights about their competitors rather an inside view of their rival’s strategy and market approach. The information sources used in a typical competitive intelligence study are press analysis and pricing research among others. Press analysis includes the analysis of publicly available information like financial information, senior management views and opinions, and change in management. Pricing studies or price analysis involves sifting through price lists and catalogs for product and service price information; thereby, using it to benchmark against their own prices.

Look Beyond Competitors

Companies often focus on the external environment, i.e. their competitors, and overlook the other stakeholders. Organizations should listen to their internal stakeholders such as employees and not disregard their ideas and proposals. The employees interact with customers and have an understanding of the consumer trends and market demands. Therefore, it is essential for the organizations to allow employees to participate in new product development. Competitive intelligence is successful when the business takes into account all of its stake holders – internal and external, enabling them to create customer delight and enhance their customer service. Insights from employees and suppliers can help organizations focus on retaining their own customers before focusing on new customer acquisition.

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Business Intelligence in Manufacturing – Will It Bring about a Paradigm Shift in the Manufacturing Landscape

To keep up with the rapid changes and latest developments in the global market, manufacturing industries must leverage business intelligence solutions. The manufacturing industry is more volatile and fragmented, thanks to increasing connectivity and globalization. Furthermore, the manufacturing companies need to adopt business intelligence and analytics tools and solutions to gain actionable insights and improve their decision-making process. Business intelligence helps the organizations to achieve agility in manufacturing processes; thereby, driving cost saving opportunities and positively impacting the bottom-line. Business intelligence and analytics is the answer to solve the challenges of the manufacturing industry.

Manufacturing Industry and Its Challenges

The manufacturing industry across the globe is not only complicated but also complex in terms of production, operations, and management. To maximize profits, the manufacturing companies must streamline their processes, eliminate production waste, optimizea2 inventory levels, and devise time management strategies. The industry faces several challenges in terms of the complex network of suppliers and customers, minimizing costs, monitoring outsourcing processes, maintaining the after-sales service quality, and diminishing profit margins. The manufacturing companies also face a tough time in adopting technologies to ensure efficient supply chain management. The lack of advanced manufacturing technology decreases the efficiency of production operations and increases procurement costs. To drive profitability, business intelligence is the answer to all the manufacturing problems and challenges.

The Need for Business Intelligence in the Manufacturing Industry

Big data has changed the way most industries operate across the world. Business intelligence has changed the manufacturing processes and information procurement; thereby, revolutionizing the industry. The companies are a data warehouse in itself, with information available across the systems in different forms. The manufacturing companies have a wide range of information available to them from several enterprise resource systems, suppliers and related costs, real-time information, customer communications, financial data and industry trends and developments. The application and benefits of business intelligence are ubiquitous in the manufacturing industry; thereby, leveraging insights through BI technologies and devising strategies. Why is business intelligence so important, you ask? Here’s why.

  • To manage and utilize the organization’s data warehouse and gain actionable insights to ensure regulatory compliance and improve business performance
  • To effectively manage large amounts of structured and unstructured data from various supply chain touchpoints such as distributors, suppliers, customers, and market insights
  • To improve operational efficiency and increase the effectiveness business processes and systems by analyzing the expenditures and ensuring cost effectiveness; thereby, driving profitability



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