Business Intelligence and Data Analytics: A Relationship with Benefits

November 7, 2022  

Lucy van Pelt of Peanuts fame has a lot of insight into the dynamics of relationships. She’s spent years wooing her love, so she has personal experience. Besides, as an amateur psychologist, she has an excellent background in behavior and its impact, doesn’t she?

It’s like the relationship between business intelligence and data analytics. Lucy will be the first to tell you that, though they’re separate entities, they make beautiful music together.

Business Intelligence vs. Data Analytics

These two terms are frequently used together or in place of each other. And it’s true that they are closely linked, yet they aren’t interchangeable. There are some finer points that sometimes get overlooked.

Data analytics is the complete procedure and operation of gathering, cleaning, optimizing, storing, visualizing, and analyzing data. (Phew. That’s a mouthful.) Analytics isn’t always specific only to business, as it has a role in many industries.

Business intelligence is the processes, methods, and tools for turning your company’s data into actionable insights and valuable information for improved decision-making. It involves a great deal of organizing, analyzing, and reporting. It can refer to both the process and the outcome.

That sounds remarkably like data analytics, right? Close, but business intelligence includes data analytics, yet goes beyond.

Perhaps the most significant separation between these two concepts is that business intelligence often relies on past information, questioning what happened and how that came to be, and looking at where the company is now.

Meanwhile, data analytics commonly looks ahead and forecasts what is likely to happen, guiding you toward what you should do next. 

How Business Intelligence Picks Up Where Data Analytics Left Off

Data analytics is involved in business intelligence, but it’s just one part of it. There’s much more involved, such as

  • Benchmarking
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Creating and reporting dashboards
  • Performance management

The end goal of business intelligence is an eye on increasing profits. It takes the insights acquired from the data analysis and puts them to use, applying them to strategies and business decisions.

Business intelligence data is already structured; this means the average Joe can use it. Anybody can understand the results of the data and benefit from it.

Business intelligence doesn’t just tell you the what, like data analytics does. It tells you the why, as well.

Implementing Business Intelligence For Your Business

If your organization is ready to embrace business intelligence, it’s time to start preparing your company. You can’t just flip a switch and be business intelligent; it’s a process with steps you need to take to get set up.

Taking the time to get your business in place ensures you’ll get the best results from your process. Here are a few key points for moving toward a business intelligence model.

Determine your goals. Goals will give you a map so you can confidently move forward in the direction you need. You’ll know which data points you need and won’t waste time seeking metrics in areas that don’t support your objectives.

Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). You’ll benefit from markers along the way that can inform decisions as you progress toward your goal. Sometimes you’ll need to know which path to take to get closer to your results; KPIs, or metrics, can measure your progress to ensure you’re going the right way.

Appoint your data people. Who will be working on your data analytics? They’re dealing with precious materials for your company, so you must know you have the right crew handling such important information.

Get your business intelligence tools! Only half of companies currently use business intelligence tools. They’ll help you get organized and focused.

Finalize your strategy. You need your plan fully set before you begin rocking business intelligence. Make sure that all invested individuals are on the same page and adequately onboarded with the new procedures. 

What Is the Impact of Business Intelligence on Your Business?  

Still wondering what’s in it for you? You may be surprised to discover just how many corners of your business can be enhanced through business intelligence.

You’ll have better quality control over your data. Implementing business intelligence means you aren’t focusing on getting all the metrics but only getting the best ones. It’s a classic case of quality over quantity. Your collection prioritizes only your objective, so you wind up with a narrow focus in your data collection. It’s very streamlined.

Your company can make critical decisions faster and with better outcomes. You can give your intuition and “gut feeling” a rest in favor of informed choices. It’s easier to make a confident call when you see evidence for the path you’re choosing. 

When your decisions are faster, your business can move quickly. You’ll always be moving and expanding, not waiting around while the decision-makers debate and wring their hands. Outsiders will notice your business’s fast pace and know you’ve got what it takes to succeed.

Business intelligence also results in improved employee performance. These insights give your team direction, so they are no longer chasing their tails on unnecessary work, which improves morale. Hey, better morale also raises productivity!

Your team can work faster when all the data it needs is organized and easily accessed. No more extended coffee breaks while waiting for such and-such department to get back to you with the required data.

And, of course, business intelligence can maximize your company’s earnings. Your company is operating in high gear when all of the above is running smoothly. Businesses that use business intelligence and data analytics see an average ROI of 1300%. That’s mighty appealing.

Wrapping Up

To understand the finer points of collecting data and gleaning actionable insights, it’s helpful to understand that data analytics and business intelligence aren’t quite the same. You certainly need the analytics side, but business intelligence can take your company a step or two further to give you a more rounded picture of your business. Devise your company’s strategy for implementing your business intelligence plan, and with diligence, you’ll feel the impact of your efforts boost your business results.

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Adam Roderick

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About the Author

Adam's tech career spans startups to global firms, touching finance, tourism, e-commerce, and consulting. Spotting a way to give small- and medium-sized companies an advantage with data, he founded Datateer to democratize analytics. He values relentless progress, simplifying complexity, and putting people first.

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