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SAP Business Analytics versus SAP Business Intelligence – What’s the Difference?
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SAP Business Analytics versus SAP Business Intelligence – What’s the Difference?

Football fever has overtaken the globe with the ongoing FIFA World Cup.

Today, there’s no better instance where we can witness the application of business intelligence and business analytics than in a football match.

Imagine that the manager of the team wants to review the last game the team has played in order to fix the mistakes and replicate the successes. Software like business intelligence enables the coach to identify all the statistics and plays that led to the team winning the match.

Whether it’s the percentage of ball possession or the passes, all of it will be identified with the help of business intelligence.

On the other hand, a platform like SAP business analytics will assess and evaluate why a specific player had possession of the ball for longer than the opponent, why a particular side of the field performed better for passes and so on.

SAP Business Analytics versus SAP Business Intelligence – What’s the Difference?

There have been times when SAP Business Analytics and SAP Business Intelligence are terms that have been used interchangeably. While there may be similarities between the two, there are specific distinctions as well.

Let’s take a look.

1. Definition – Prediction versus Description

The primary difference between the two platforms lies in their definition. Even though the goal of both software is to play a role in the overall analytical process, the manner in which they perform the task is completely different.

The fundamental difference lies in the method that is used by SAP Business Analytics and SAP Business Intelligence as their base.

SAP Business Analytics is predictive where the process uses advanced statistical techniques and machine learning technologies to mine the data using. It then evaluates the historical as well as the current information to identify trends and patterns and then triggers accurate predictions.

SAP Business Intelligence, on the other hand, is more descriptive where the method of analysis is utilized to describe and summarize the main characteristics found on a dataset. BI is used frequently to find patterns and relationships that can help the business communicate change over time and use trends and insights to drive the decision-making process.

2. Purpose of Usage of BA versus BI in a Business Context

It is important to assess how BA and BI differ in their purpose of usage in a business context.

The primary use of SAP Business Analytics is to enable the organization to make a decision on the next steps.

SAP business intelligence is mostly used for the purpose of reporting on the prevailing and historical performance of the organization.

Take for instance that the management is looking at the sales report of an online fashion store. They notice that the sale of their Egyptian cotton jumpsuit has skyrocketed in the last three months in Dubai.

The SAP Business Analytics tool will enable the organization to understand why the sales spike happened in Dubai. It will analyse where the website traffic came from by assessing the website data and creating a model basis historical demand. The business will then be able to devise a plan that will help them to cater to future demand.

The SAP BI tool will focus on helping the business get a comprehensive forecast of how much inventory of the Egyptian cotton jumpsuit will be needed to cover future customer demand.

3. Applications of BA and BI Tools

The application and usage of data gathered in SAP Business Analytics are different from that in SAP Business Intelligence.

Simply put, data collected for business analytics can be taken way further than simply predicting and reporting whereas data for business intelligence generally represent complex data in easy-to-understand reporting formats.

Some of the common applications of SAP Business Analytics include:

  • Statistical analysis like linear regressions, classification, and clustering
  • Data modelling to assess the success of marketing campaigns and find improvement opportunities
  • Financial forecasting

Some of the common SAP Business Intelligence applications include:

  • Performance management
  • Visual insights

Flexible reporting


When it comes to powerful and cutting-edge analytics and intelligence tools, SAP undoubtedly is a winner in both categories. Ultimately, it is the need of your business that will determine which tool suits the needs of your organization the best.

For more information on SAP Business Analytics and business intelligence platforms, get in touch with MDSap, a trusted SAP partner for companies based in the Middle East.