A few Business Intelligence vendors believe that Business Analytics (BA) differs from Business Intelligence (BI). A couple of years ago a few vendors like IBM Cognos and SAS Institute said that the term Business Intelligence fall short. They find out that Business Intelligence is all about Business Analytics: analyzing data to get to know why things happen(ed) and what might happen in the future. Today, many vendors have adopted the analytics concept and they use the phrase ‘Business Analytics’ instead of the term Business Intelligence, or they use it in addition to it.
The huge difference between Business Intelligence and Business Analytics is what they say ‘predictive analysis’, ‘predictive modeling’ and fact-based management in order to drive better decision making. Where Business Intelligence is about OLAP, dashboards and reporting about the past, is Business Analytics about reporting about why things happen and events that might happen in the future. Business Analytics does heavily lean on statistical and quantitative analysis, mostly on large data sets (Big Data).
Such a shift in terminology is quit common in the software branche. Earlier Business Intelligence software is called performance management, business performance management, corporate performance management and so on. But it is often the same software they try to sell. In our vision Business Analytics should be part of your Business Intelligence strategy, not an unimportant part.
Is Business Analytics a hype or a trend? We can’t say anything about it yet. Maybe we are at the start of the hype cycle. Or maybe at the end. What we know from our research using the public statistics from the major search engines, people are by far interested in Business Intelligence. The search traffic statistics from a specific search engine (the worldwide market leader) shows that de search term ‘Business Intelligence’ is used 550.000 times a month worldwide, the phrase ‘Business Analytics’ is used ‘only’ 40.500 times. Based on these figures we may conclude that there is a big discrepancy between what the vendors are trying to sell and what people are looking for.
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