If you operate a company or business enterprise that requires a large amount of data to be collated and interpreted, then you’ve probably heard of business intelligence software, indeed, you might be an enthusiastic end user of these types of packages, and wonder how you ever managed without it.
Business intelligence packages are remarkable things, with all necessary information being stored in a heavily encrypted online facility, and with the touch of a button (or realistically, a few buttons), being collated, analyzed and arriving on a dashboard that displays just what you need to know to do your job. Business intelligence (or BI) can look at your corporate history, present day needs and can even anticipate future needs and issues with uncanny accuracy, leaving you to marvel at just how far (and fast) technology has progressed.
A key selling point of BI is its ability to analyze data, meaning that this process is significantly less labor intensive than it used to be. So, since BI can analyze data, then what is the need for business analytics tools? You may have heard of them too, and might be less than impressed to discover that the BI package you’ve paid a large sum of money for doesn’t encompass this facility. So what are business analytics tools? And do you need them?
What’s The Difference?
Business analytics is very similar to BI, with a huge number of overlaps, and as such, these types of tools can be an unnecessary addition to many companies. For small and even medium sized companies, BI is perfectly sufficient, and you’re probably not even using the full potential of the package (much like the story that we only use 10% of our brains). Business analytics are a refined form of analysis of a company’s historical performance, allowing for future insights in existing and previously unexplored arenas, and also to incorporate current manual processes into future automated decision-making.
Who Needs Business Analytics?
While some companies restrict the usage of their BI tools to the CEO and senior management, allowing them to allocate resources as needed, many large companies have huge quantities of employees who require daily BI access, with a dashboard specifically designed for their particular department or role within the company. Business analytics are not for everyday use across the company, but are used by departmental managers; specifically product, sales and marketing managers who may need to crunch data at a higher level than what is offered by most standard BI interfaces.
Into The Future
Leading industry analysts have speculated that what we consider as business analytics tools by their current definition will most likely be absorbed by what we consider as business intelligence tools. Essentially, future releases of BI packages will encompass greater and greater capacities for advanced analysis, meaning that business analytics will serve as part of the business intelligence process. The advanced nature of analytics mean that they may not ever be suitable for all aspects of corporate operations, but will exist as a facility for those persons and departments within a company who might need them.
So if you’ve been getting along without business analytics tools up until now, then you can feel quite confident in continuing like this, since BI offers business intelligence for the business user, which is more than enough for most operations. The chances are that the analytics tools will be part of standard business intelligence packages in the coming years anyway…
Written by Nate Miller, a part-time guest-blogger and a full time business enthusiast. Nate currently represents Domo. Domo offers the best business intelligence dashboard for complex marketing campaigns. In his free time Nate likes to play chess and extend on his Japanese language skills.