What Is The Difference Between Business Analytics and Business Intelligence?

Business analytics and business intelligence both play important roles in the success of modern organizations. While the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, business analytics focuses on using data to determine future events. In contrast, business intelligence focuses on historical data and how past decisions impacted outcomes.

In recent years, business analytics has emerged as an in-demand field for professionals both in the United States and worldwide. This growth is fueled by the shifts in businesses, governments, and nonprofits to data-driven strategies that make operations more and efficient. Earning a Master of Science in Business Analytics prepares graduates to take on critical leadership roles in modern business organizations in business analytics and business intelligence.

What is Business Analytics?

According to the International Data Corporation, companies will spend an estimated $274 billion on business analytics by 2022. Most companies now have the ability to collect and store data. The focus is on analyzing data to extract meaningful information. That’s an important task considering that we generate an estimated 2.5 quintillion of data points every day.

Business analysts use data to solve business challenges. Business analytics focuses primarily on predictive analyses. Using tools such as data mining, data modeling, and machine learning, business analytics attempts to answer the question of “why” an outcome occurred. The goal is to recommend changes that will lead to better outcomes in the future.

What is Business Intelligence?

When asked to define business intelligence vs. business analytics, many experts have different definitions and opinions. However, most agree that business intelligence primarily works with descriptive analytics, looking at historical data to determine how past decisions and strategies impacted outcomes.

Business intelligence focuses on ”what happened” rather than “why it happened.” Supplying detailed information on what happened allows business leaders to continue using strategies that work and change those that failed.

Different Types of Business Analytics

Business analysts apply different types of data strategies depending on the situation. In every case, the goal is to extract actionable insight from large data sets. There are three main types of business analytics.


Descriptive analytics addresses the consequences of past decisions. It involves collecting, categorizing, aggregating, and classifying historical data. By looking at this data, business leaders can make more informed decisions about future strategies. Descriptive analytics allows analysts to quickly focus on areas where changes could lead to better results.


Predictive analytics investigates potential outcomes based on current business strategy. It also predicts results if businesses change variables in a process. Analysts develop these predictions by using advanced algorithms to uncover trends in data and relationships between different data sets. Predictive analytics provides insights by using existing data and then using probabilities to forecast outcomes.


Prescriptive analytics attempts to find potential solutions to challenges by using historical data and current trends to determine the best choice in specific situations. The goal of prescriptive analytics is to provide real-time advice on making the best choice between various options.

The Master of Science in Business Analytics from TUW

The Touro University Worldwide MS in Business Analytics is one of the many online business degree programs offered by the university. Experts in the field teach the 100% online program, which does not require residency. Students can complete the program in one year. No GMAT or GRE is required to apply for the program, which has six different start dates throughout the year.

TUW divides the program into eight-week sessions. TUW also offers two concentrations in its business analytics program.

Management concentration. Students in this concentration focus on operations and using insights from analysis of large amounts of data to solve business challenges. Students also learn about project management for analytics projects.

Marketing concentration. Students in this concentration focus on marketing research and digital marketing analytics to make better decisions and more accurate marketing projections. Students also learn data-driven strategies for social media marketing.

Core courses in the program taken by all students include:

  • Introduction to Business Analytics
  • Security and Ethics for Business Analytics
  • Big Data Management and Databases
  • Fundamentals of Statistics
  • Predictive Analytics and Forecasting
  • Consumer Analytics
  • Data-Driven Decisions and Strategy
  • Data Visualization and Communication in Business Analytics

Graduates from the TUW MS in Business Analytics program are prepared to take on the challenges of providing leadership in this critical area of all modern organizations.  With the growth in analytics expected to continue, the degree can boost your career and help you qualify for top jobs in the business analytics and business intelligence fields.

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