There is a big difference between what someone needs to know and wants to know. For example, if you are going to walk to a destination and you see dark clouds, you need to know if it will rain so that you take an umbrella. However, what you want to know is when and where it will rain as well as how intensely and for how long. Let’s apply this “needs versus wants” discussion to the emerging analytics movement.

One can debate if there is a substantial difference between business intelligence and business analytics. I prefer to not enter this debate. My observation is that BI involves reporting from previously stored data, possibly stored from two or more sources. In contrast, analytics creates new information from the stored data. Analytics involves asking questions that lead to more complex and interesting questions, and ideally answering the questions.

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