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Difference Between Business Analyst & Business Intelligence

Business analysts and business intelligence analysts both work with data to improve a company's performance, yet they work with different types of analytics for different purposes. Read on for the intricate differences between these careers.

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Comparing Business Analysts to Business Intelligence Analysts

Business analysts and business intelligence analysts both deal with examining data to improve a certain facet of a company. The difference between the two positions is that business analysts focus on the efficiency within the practices of various departments, while business intelligence analysts focus on the overall output from the company and compares that progress to other similar companies within the industry. More information on salary, job growth and education are outlined in the table.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2014-2024)**
Business Analyst Bachelor's degree $58,530 7% (for all business operations specialists)
Business Intelligence Analyst Bachelor's degree $66,296 2%

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Business Analysts vs. Business Intelligence Analysts

The ways in which business analysts and business intelligence analysts interpret data are what distinguishes the two positions the most. Business analysts focus primarily on financial and administrative data to help sculpt the procedures within a particular department or to develop a new department. Business intelligence analysts look for patterns in the data to find trends over various periods of time, such as quarterly reports, in order to gauge the efficacy of the corporation's practices to other corporations in the same field. The differences may seem nuanced since they use similar information to make their analyses, however business analysts make inter-company inquiries while business intelligence analysts make intra-company inquiries.

Business Analyst

A business analyst's primary objective is to improve the functionality of an internal department within a corporation. They do this by looking over various data and documentation where they can make inferences on the productivity of certain departments, such as quantitative data on how much work is produced under the current administrative system. Their work environment is intensive and fast paced making it highly stressful, since depending on the company or task at hand the methods and variables they are observing can change drastically at any given moment. Although a bachelor's degree in business administration is required for eligibility, a master's degree and some work experience may be preferred, since this career is imperative for the performance of the company. Business analysts will also be expected to do the following for a company:

  • Assess a plenitude of information and data to make effective inferences and conclusions
  • Communicate to upper-management the efficacy of a program or methodology within a department
  • Create new, effective solutions to rectify any futile administrative practices
  • Meet the needs and quotas laid out by the company

Business Intelligence Analysts

Business intelligence analysts critically evaluate various financial and marketing data both within the company. They also examine what is publicly reported from other companies to both render a report of the company's financial state and assess how the company holds up to others, while providing possible ways to improve performance. They typically view the reports within the market over a long period of time to have an effective meta-analysis on what variables affect the image and success of products or companies in general. They must stay informed on the developing technology in the market that could improve or impact the company, as well as observe the behaviors of the consumer base. Once they have accrued this information, they report their findings to upper-management, assessing the standing of the company in the economic climate and within the industry, as well as providing possible solutions to any concerns that arise. Other duties include:

  • Compile up-to-date data to bolster the logic behind any recommendations they offer
  • Run evaluations to verify that the conclusions met are sound and accurate
  • Pinpoint how differing variables affect the sales and performance of the company
  • Implement new systems that incorporate the business intelligence gathered in the workplace

Related Careers

If you are interested in analyzing qualitative and quantitative data for the betterment of a company's efficiency or productivity, there are other jobs that encompass this type of work. Being an operations research analyst, you will utilize these skills to assist managers in making business or administrative decisions, while as a management analyst, you would work on a more interpersonal level to solve problems involving productivity or cost-efficiency.

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