He feels that the differences between the two – even though they do exist – are not of huge importance. Most people have their own idea of what each of them are and although they differ from person to person, the underlying elements are often the same.
One business intelligence vendor uses the term “business analytics” as an umbrella term,which they mean to inlcude: data warehousing, business intelligence, enterprise information management, enterprise performance management, analytic applications, and governance, risk, and compliance.
Whereas another uses the term to indicate some level of vertical/horizontal domain knowledge tied with statistical or predictive analytics.
Elliott comes to the conclusion that there are two things worth differentiating:
1. The business aspect of BI - the need to draw value from analyzing information. Over the past 5 decades this has not really changed, and neither have the factors preventing us from doing so.
2. The IT aspect of BI - this is the tool used to provide the information. This has clearly evolved over time, sometimes drastically.
“Business intelligence” is often used to describe both of the above – resulting in confusion.
He also makes the interesting point that analysts and vendors will change the term with the fear that their offering will appear dated if they continue using an established term, especially those new to the industry. He rounds off by stating quite correctly that it doesn’t really matter what you call it, at the end of the day it’s all about working out the best way to leverage the information you have to make better business decisions.
Interestingly, he changed the name of his blog from “BI questions” to “Business Analytics” because Google Trends showed a decline in the overall search volume of the term “business intelligence” and a sharp rise in searches for “Business Analytics”.