A:

Business intelligence and business analytics share the same goal - to help firms make better decisions through actionable data - but they differ in method. Business analytics relies more heavily on predictive statistics than business intelligence, which tends toward industry experience and individual evaluations. They are both component parts in a larger overall trend toward the use of big data and can be used to complement one another in the right contexts.

That said, there is little practical use in drawing clear distinctions between business intelligence and business analytics. Not only are the two terms used interchangeably throughout much of the industry but, as previously identified, they share the same objectives.

Strategic Data

The unifying assumption underlying business intelligence and business analytics is that market data, whether about consumers, producers or resources, can be meaningfully organized and interpreted. This is not dissimilar from some of the assumptions of technical stock market analysis or econometrics. Strategic data usage has become an important part of corporate governance. An entire sub-industry exists to teach, train or perform business intelligence gathering and analysis for other companies.

Business consulting is nothing new; the first recognized consulting firm in the United States was developed in 1890. What makes business analytics and business intelligence different is the integration of statistics and regression analysis. Many sources point to the introduction of commercial computers in the 1950s as the beginning of modern business intelligence. Until 2008-2010, the entire scope of strategic business data existed under the broad umbrella of "BI."

The terminology changed suddenly after that time period, when the more IT-centric branch of business intelligence began to call itself analytics. This new marketing catchword showed higher favorability numbers among business leaders and increasing volume on Google searches.

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