Although business intelligence and data analytics are different fields, the commonalities between them allow organizations to reap benefits from each, especially when they are used in concert. Both data analytics and BI involve collecting and analyzing data in order to gather insights. In addition, both disciplines rely on reporting, which entails grouping and displaying the data in a visually engaging manner that conveys insights in an accessible and engaging way. These two fields also share the common goal of pinpointing problematic areas within a business, such as areas where operations are not running at maximum efficiency.
These two fields also have several important differences to note. Generally speaking, BI is most concerned with the present, whereas data analytics looks more to the future. BI most commonly uses descriptive analytics, which summarizes and visualizes historical data to provide organizations with a snapshot of what has happened, as well as what is currently going on. Data analytics tends to be more focused on the future. This field draws on data mining to spot patterns that can help predict future trends, information that helps a company decide what should be done next. Data analytics uses predictive analytics based on the data.
Many organizations use BI tools hand-in-hand with data analytic tools. This allows them not just to have a clear picture of what happened in the past at their company, but to see the current state of affairs, as well as to devise a game plan for how to approach the upcoming years.
Here are some of the ways companies leverage BI software, technologies, and tools to help with their data analytic needs:
- Predictions: Forecast engines enable those within a business to locate insights that will help them make predictions about future scenarios. These engines are a powerful tool that help an organization get the most out of its currently used strategies to yield the most helpful results.
- Streamlined data access: When all individuals in a company have access to the same data, this reduces the time spent waiting on the IT department to provide reports. By using self-service data analytics, those within an organization can cut down on the time spent on exchanging reports and devote their efforts to more important tasks.
- Automation: BI tools no longer rely on spreadsheets or static presentations. By introducing automation capabilities, those working with data don’t have to work with copious numbers of columns and rows. Automation eliminates manual tasks, which can help save valuable time, resources, and money for an organization.
- Cost reduction: When a company uses BI tools, they are able to perform many tasks much faster than they would without these tools. BI tools make it possible to execute faster analysis, planning, and reporting, all of which lead to a more efficient, profitable outcome.
The Role of a Business Intelligence Analyst
A Business Intelligence Analyst’s role at a company is to extract insights from data and to apply these insights into the decision-making process. While the daily tasks of a BI Analyst vary depending on the organization and specific project, there are three primary tasks they handle:
- Collecting & analyzing data: The first step for any BI Analyst is to collect data. It then must be cleaned and analyzed.
- Interpreting data: An important part of a BI Analyst’s job is to provide an interpretation of the data. This can involve spotting patterns or market trends.
- Dispersing findings: The insights gathered from the data are only valuable when they can be shared with others in an organization. This process involves visualizing the data in the form of charts or graphs, as well as compiling reports that can then be presented to various internal and external stakeholders, such as other teams or clients.
- Suggesting a course of action: Once the findings have been reported, the BI Analyst will then offer suggestions for the company’s future actions based on these findings.
As companies continue to collect large amounts of data, there is an increasing need for those who can interpret this data in a way that will serve the needs of their organization. Because of the valuable insights they provide to organizations, BI Analysts are in-demand in many fields. In 2021, the average salary for a BI Analyst in the US was approximately $84K.
The Future of Business Intelligence
Business intelligence is changing the way organizations analyze, visualize, and share data. This rapidly transforming field is expected to play an integral role in businesses in the future. As augmented analytics continues to be integrated into the BI field, machine learning is expected to play a more important role in software platforms. This will lead to platforms that are far more powerful and useful to organizations, ones that can provide more pointed, valuable recommendations.
Hands-On Business Intelligence & Data Analytics Classes
For those who want to learn more about how to process and analyze big data, Noble Desktop’s data analytics classes are a great starting point. Courses are offered in New York City, as well as in the live online format in topics like Excel, Python, data science, and data analytics technologies, among others.
In addition, more than 130 live online data analytics courses are also available in data analytics and visualization from top providers. Topics offered include FinTech, Excel for Business, and Tableau, among others. Courses range from three hours to six months and cost from $219 to $27,500.
Additionally, Noble’s Data Analytics Classes Near Me tool provides an easy way to locate and browse approximately 400 data analytics classes currently offered in in-person and live online formats. Course lengths vary from three hours to 36 weeks and cost $119-$27,500.
There are also other live online Power BI classes currently available for those looking to specialize in this intelligence platform. These interactive classes are taught in real-time and provide all learners with access to an instructor who is teaching live (in-person and online) and is ready to provide feedback and answer questions.
For those who want to learn how to create dynamic data visualizations for business reports, Noble Desktop’s Power BI Bootcamp. This class is available in-person in NYC, as well as in the live online format. It teaches participants such skills as how to use a single relational model when connecting to multiple data sources, how to create comprehensive time intelligence reports, and how to work with Power Query.