Business Intelligence vs Data Science

Hello all! Belated Happy New Year! I’ve been busy working on a new book and a few other projects. It’s time to get back to blogging.

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I recently saw this article explaining the difference between BI Analysts and Data Scientists.

On the surface, this article highlights the operational differences between BI Analysts and Data Scientists. But at the core, it’s a view into how the BI industry has changed over the last few years. Here’s a graphic from that article.

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As I look at this graphic,

I personally recognize many of the tasks outlined here.

I can remember a time when I felt the needs of my customers change from simple trending dashboards to more predictive analytics. In the last few years, many Excel analysts have been asked to do more Data Science’y kind of stuff. Stuff like:

  • Analyze the correlation between key demographic data and transactional metrics such as number of purchases, purchase amounts, and frequency of visits
  • Score customers based on customer satisfaction levels, likelihood to recommend, and capacity utilization
  • Analyze association rules; for example, if Customer A buys Product A, we can predict (with 90% confidence level) that there is an 85% likelihood that this customer will buy Product B.
  • Predict outcomes based on certain independent variables found through regression analysis; for example, a machine’s likelihood to break down given a number of interrelated variables.

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In the past, business intelligence primarily consisted of dashboards showing historic data on an agreed upon set of key performance metrics. Organizations today are demanding more dynamic predictive analysis, the ability to iteratively perform data discovery, and the freedom to take the hard left and right turns on data presentation. These managers often turn to Excel analysts to provide the needed analytics and visualization tools.

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Over the new few months, I’d like to focus my blog posts here on some of the more advanced Data Science’y kind of stuff that we’ll all be asked to do.

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This leads me to the Excel Power BI Boot Camp I’m hosting with Bill Jelen (Mr. Excel) in Dallas from May 20th – May 22nd.

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This 3-day event is aimed squarely at Excel analysts who find it increasingly necessary to:

  • Analyze large amounts of data and report those results in a meaningful way
  • Get better visibility into data with new Data Mining tools
  • Perform advanced Clustering and Market Basket analytics
  • Add interactive controls to your dashboards without VBA
  • Automate repetitive data cleansing and transformation tasks
  • Create eye-catching visualizations and Dashboards
  • Create map-based dashboards
  • Access external data sources to expand your message

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Bill and I only have 25 seats left in the class. If you sign up before March 1st, you’ll get a $100 discount off registration.

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I’ll be back tomorrow with an exciting new series of posts on the SQL Server Data Mining Add-in.

See you then!

 

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