Statement from Captain Obvious: in order for your business to do well, you need to know what’s working, what isn’t working, and how to improve. Right? Exactly. But the amount of data that your business produces can make it hard to work out what the information is telling you, and how you should go about it.
This is where Business Analytics, or BA, and Business Intelligence, or BI, come in. Each of these has specific tools and methodologies for making sense of the data that you have.
But what’s the difference between them? And which is most useful for you?
BA is pretty much an umbrella term for the ways that you can use your business’ data. The aim of analyzing the data is to make sure that you can get insights to help you improve your business planning, and make sure your future is sunny.
Business Analytics typically uses statistics and predictive modeling so that you can work out why things are happening a specific way, establish business trends, and forecast accurately how things might pan out in the future.
It helps to think of Business Analytics as something which focuses predominantly on the future. To give you a simple analogy, Business Analytics is a little bit like weather forecasting. Based on the data and information that you have, BA can tell you whether or not it’s going to be sunny tomorrow or rain.
While Business Intelligence is also about exploring your data, it’s a lot more interested in how the business is doing, and how to make better decisions in the present to improve performance or create new chances for growth.
BI lets you look at historical data leading right up to the present moment. On a granular level, you can track every piece of data that goes into your business, in order to then arrange it to help learn from mistakes, build from successes, and incorporate into your future decisions.
BI tells you what happened, or is happening right now. If BA tells you the weather tomorrow, BI will tell you the impact of the fact that it rained tomorrow, and by looking at it, you’ll know if you should carry an umbrella today.
The confusion between these two terms comes from their massive similarities. After all, both BI and BA are about how you access and extrapolate information from the available data – it’s just the direction that you’re looking at which is different.
In order to decide if you want BI or BA, it’s worth knowing if you want to look at what’s happening – in which case, go for BI. If you’re looking for predictive analysis, then BA is your friend. If you want both, then you may need to use both business analytics and business intelligence.
There has also been a lot of conversation recently about how the distinction between these terms is relatively pointless, as they offer you similar, if not the exact same information. This confusion has come from the dramatic increase in technology and analytical tools that are available, as well as the way that people talk about BI and BA.
While companies will always need and have always needed, information about the way in which their business is performing, and a way to forecast what could happen, the boom in technology and tools to do this has allowed the way we find business insights to evolve and change.
In technical terms, it’s harder to say which tools are specific to BI and which are the tools specifically for BA. In many cases, there is a huge overlap on these, and the lines are a lot less clear than they used to be.
DashboardFox is a Business Intelligence software tool. But not just any run of the mill tool, it’s in the self-service category of BI. This means that’s it’s easier to use and doesn’t require all of the technical expertise to get started with and deploy that traditional BI software requires.
Plus it’s affordable. Instead of an annual subscription, with DashboardFox you have a one-time fee and can use it forever. And instead of having to buy a license per user, DashboardFox provides concurrent user licenses. So your teammates can share a pool of licenses, if you have a team of 20 but only 2-3 need to be logged in at the same time, simply buy 3 concurrent licenses.
DashboardFox can connect to your databases (or you can import Microsoft Excel/CSV files) and without writing complex SQL queries, you can convert that raw data into meaningful business metrics and KPIs that help drive your business.
If you do need a hand, the team at 5000fish has all the expertise to help you out.
Let’s start by discussing your needs. We can see if DashboardFox is the right solution and if not, we often recommend someone else in the industry who may be a better fit. If DashboardFox sounds like a fit, we can move to a live demo with you and your team or jump right into a free fully functioning trial of the software.
Contact us today to get started.