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AI does not equal BI. It's better.

AI does not equal BI. It's better.

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There is a lot of confusion about the difference between business intelligence and artificial intelligence. Both roads start in the same direction, but AI takes you much, much further.

I've been spending the past 6 weeks arguing with a colleague about how BI is not AI and, in fact, much better. If you are less versed in AI or BI, or both, here's the idea.

AI vs. BI

Business intelligence is a technology-driven process for analyzing data and presenting actionable information relevant to business objectives.

Artificial intelligence is a bit amorphous. It's basically advanced computation using data, algorithms and compute power to think like we humans think. We've seen rapid progress in the AI/Machine Learning space. AI can be used to clean and combine data, discover new data, and suggest new combinations of data that could so that we uncover better truth.

See it yet?

Okay, more then. Gartner starts to illustrate differences between analytics, AI, and BI like this:

BI is considered "descriptive analytics" and helps us see what happened. It uses micro and macro data to create trend reports and dashboards. It is up to the user to determine why it happened. More advanced BI solutions are beginning to incorporate basic machine learning (regression, clustering) to find and make basic predictions or relationships between data sets.

AI can understand unstructured and more granular data sets (like individual customer data) and understand the relationship between macro trends, understanding why it happened (diagnostics analytics). Advanced pattern recognition and understanding of more (and more varieties) of data points allow for prediction, prescription, and even automation of tasks.

Non-techies rejoice!

Non-techies will enjoy AI-powered suggestions on best-fit data viz. Automated modeling plus natural language processing features helps non-techies get into the power of predictive analytics. We can now ask out AI questions on our data and our AI can understand context, helping us get to better answers, quicker.


Artificial intelligence can provide deeper data analysis that can deliver recommended next steps or even to automate actions sure to lead to desired outcomes. You are probably connecting some dots. BI is not AI. AI is now BI. On the semantic tree, AI is a branch of data science. And BI is now a branch of AI. AI is just an evolved state letting us take BI to the next level.

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