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Difference between BI and BA?


By NIIT Editorial

Published on 14/12/2021

The terms business intelligence and business analytics are used interchangeably but have distinct characteristics. For one, Business Analytics is deployed to extrapolate higher order of analytical insights but it uses Business Intelligence to make such projections.  

Data analytics as we understand it now has nuances. However, the most well-to-do enterprises are the ones that understand and leverage the difference between the two. As it turns out, to best utilize your data silos, you need to be prompt in the difference between BI and BA. 

Difference between BI & BA

The foremost difference concerns the timing of the events. Business Intelligence chiefly deals with the present and past insights that can be extrapolated from the data sets. At the same time, Business Analytics relates to forecasting what may happen in the future based on BI. We can use the 5 Ws to bring out this difference more visibly. Questions like “what is going on now and why” fall in the territory of Business Intelligence whereas questions like “what will happen next?” befall under Business Analytics. 

You can understand now why it is imperative to be aware of such nuances. 

Descriptive vs Predictive

It follows from the discussion above that Business Intelligence is descriptive in nature. Since the data is available readily to you, insights can describe the status of operations. Further data nurturing techniques could then step in by virtue of Business Analytics and offer a peek into the future. Therefore, it is labeled as predictive in nature. The predictions are aimed to create actionable roadmaps and optimize organizational resources. 

End user 

This is another consideration while understanding the difference between BI & BA. BI serves majorly analytics-oriented managers who use data to craft responsible, number-driven campaigns. This cohort includes audience practitioners such as brand managers and data analysts. Furthermore, there are BI tools that enable a further level of automation mitigating the dependency on professionals. However, the same cannot be said of Business Analytics. BA demands a certain level of involvement from subject matter experts to calculate probabilities and layout possible future outcomes. As far as the technical skills are concerned BI professionals need to know elemental level mathematical modeling, machine learning, and querying with higher-order calculations to be performed by specialized software and algorithms. BA requires niche expertise. 

Reporting vs Applying  

Business Intelligence helps visualize data and therefore utilizes tools for data representation such as Microsoft Power BI, and Tableau among others. On the other hand, Business Analytics is done with the help of statistical analysis tools and could even constitute the need for Microsoft Visio, MS Office Tools, etc. 

Old vs New Analytical Paradigms 

An organizations’ analytical strategy has to be forethought with a clear vision. Relevant data collection, storage, and structuring mechanisms have to be in place for Business Analytics to do well. The nascent stages are all about getting a grip of data and evaluating the impact of various business functions. Insights from such results can help you dive deeper into the much-sophisticated demands of Business Analytics. If you are interested in pursuing a career in either of the domains then NIIT has just the right online program for you. 

The Advanced PGP in Data Science and Machine Learning is an online course for job seekers and career-transitioning professionals in data science. It is a placement assured program that can help enrollees acquire the following positions: 

  • Jr. Data Scientist
  • Data Analyst 
  • Business Analyst 

Over the course of 18-weeks, learners traverse an intense regimen to gain an upper hand in specializations such as: 

  • Data analysis 
  • Data modeling 
  • ML models
  • Natural Language Processing 

If you can take our 8 hours for the online training through Monday-Friday during the stipulated course duration, then this course can work wonders for you. Apply now for a career in one of the hottest sectors of the economy. 



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