Articles / Business Intelligence vs. Analytics

  • BI reports on “what happened”; analytics provides information on “why it happened”
  • BI solutions are descriptive; analytical solutions are diagnostic
Business Intelligence Analytics
Characteristic Descriptive Diagnostic
Questions answered What happened Why it happened
Key buyers IT Business users
Typical sellers Mega vendors, large independents Small fast-growing independents
Approach Top-down, IT-modeled semantic layers, query existing repositories Bottom-up, business user mapped, move data into a dedicated repository
  • Reports
  • Key performance indicator (KPI)
  • Dashboards/grid
  • Visualization
  • Web-based search
User case Monitoring, reporting, IT Analysis
Sample insights
  • Sales by quarter and/or region
  • Customer demographics
  • Employee and company achievement of KPIs
  • Target markets with similar buying patterns
  • Complimentary products purchased at the time of sale
Deployment Consultants Business users
Sample Vendors
  • SAP Business Objects
  • IBM Cognos
  • Microstrategy
  • Birst
  • QlikTech
  • Tableau Software
  • Microsoft PowerPivot