AI vs BI

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AI vs BI Explained: Differences and How They Work

While both artificial intelligence (AI) and business intelligence (BI) end with the same word and have similar acronyms, they’re entirely independent processes. AI and BI share a common foundation based on large amounts of data, but the types of data they use, how they process this data, and the impact it has on your business can vary greatly.

And when combined, using AI in business intelligence can have a huge impact on how your business makes decisions. Let’s look at AI and BI and see what the differences are, and what they can do for your business when they’re used together.


What are artificial intelligence and business intelligence?

AI and BI are frameworks for processing large amounts of data. For AI, information is used to train computer models and algorithms to make decisions and interpretations based on the data they’ve been trained on. While BI, on the other hand, uses data to identify patterns and present large amounts of information in a user-friendly way.

What is business intelligence?

Business intelligence is a way of gathering, analyzing, and presenting information in a structured framework that allows businesses to understand and make decisions based on the data. At its core, BI is just a form of information management. But when you build a strategic framework around its information, BI becomes a powerful tool to help companies analyze the critical data points of their businesses and better understand the impacts of current and future decisions.

What is artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is a branch of computer science focused on training computer models to process and learn from information to analyze and solve problems like people do. In the early stages of AI for business, it automated mundane tasks that didn’t require complex thinking, like data entry, document transcription, or initial conversation flows in customer service. However, newer and more powerful AI models are now being designed for more complex tasks like writing, interacting with customers, and even designing creative works.

AI vs BI: What’s the difference?

The primary goal of BI is to translate raw, unstructured data into a format members of your team can understand and act on. From there your team can take action on those insights. BI includes a number of tools to gather, integrate, process, visualize, and share data. These tools can work independently to support different areas of your data analysis, but when combined, they become an end-to-end BI framework to bring depth and insight into your data. BI primarily focuses on past information and helping human analysts understand it.

The primary goal of AI is to offload some of the human tasks by training machines and algorithms to simulate human understanding and problem-solving processes. AI is designed to mimic human decision-making to automate it and make business processes more efficient. It is trained to analyze huge amounts of data to identify patterns and make predictions to improve performance without human intervention. AI focuses on future-forward activities, using its training information to predict future outcomes. The overall goal is to automate tasks, make processes more efficient, and analyze information at speeds far exceeding human capabilities.

Both AI and BI rely on organizing large amounts of data. But BI is primarily for making information consumable to people, while AI uses the information to learn and solve problems the way a person would.


How does BI work with AI?

The beauty of using these two systems is how they work together so well. The benefit of combining business intelligence with AI is that you can incorporate learning and automation into your BI framework to provide even better and more enhanced insights. This in turn, allows for quicker action on the insights derived from your data. Here are some of the ways BI can work with AI:

Predictive Analytics

When you combine BI analytical tools and structured data with AI predictive capabilities, your organization can get a much deeper insight into potential outcomes, trends, and behaviors. Using AI to analyze a ton of historical data can help piece together trends and patterns that may be difficult for people to recognize without significant time and effort. By using these AI algorithms within a BI framework, the AI tools are working with structured data and an infrastructure that helps your business to display the insights. Combining AI and BI will enable your company to anticipate trends, customer behaviors, and risks with far more accuracy, thereby providing a stronger foundation for decision-making and strategic planning.

Unstructured data

While some BI tools can analyze unstructured data, few have the framework or capabilities to consistently and reliably provide insight into this type of data without AI support. Much of BI relies on structured data to enable combining it logically with other data to create comprehensive insights. AI can be used to analyze unstructured data like text, social media inputs, notes, or other streaming data to recognize patterns and analyze intent, common phrases, or other insights your company requires from the unstructured data. The AI tools can then translate the unstructured data into structured data, which can be easily integrated into your BI tool.


Integrating BI and AI enables your company to deliver personalized recommendations to customers automatically. By utilizing the structured data your BI tools are gathering, AI algorithms can analyze individual preferences, purchase history, and behavior patterns in near real time, allowing your company to provide personalized recommendations. Then you can use your BI tools to analyze how effective those recommendations are and subsequently train the algorithms to provide better recommendations. This allows your company to continually drive revenue growth through targeted marketing and cross-selling opportunities.


For manufacturing companies or those who rely on an extensive supply chain, integrating AI automation into your BI platform can help streamline operational processes and identify areas to drive efficiency throughout the process. With AI insights, teams can better detect bottlenecks as they’re happening or have real-time insight into machine performance, enabling them to make better decisions about maintenance or predicting equipment failures. By using a BI dashboard, teams can continually monitor performance and make adjustments to better align resources with current needs. These dashboards can allow decision-makers to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs), ensuring your team is constantly aware of areas where they can improve, optimizing workflows and reducing costs.

Real-Time Actionable Insights

We mentioned this earlier, but combining BI with AI empowers your organization to reap the benefits of lightning-fast analysis from AI algorithms. AI can continuously process data, including streaming real-time data from a variety of sources, to identify opportunities or anomalies in the data as it arrives. Incorporating this into the framework of your BI platform allows you to get immediate alerts and notifications about areas where your team can take action or make intuitive changes. This provides your company the agility to respond immediately to changing market trends.

Continual Improvement

Probably one of the biggest benefits of combining AI and BI is one we’ve touched on already: using BI to improve AI outputs. While AI will be able to more rapidly analyze data and automate many tasks, you need to be able to trust the output of your AI. Using your BI framework to analyze the results of AI recommendations, automated actions, and insights allows your team to utilize human insights to continually refine and improve the training and learning of the AI algorithms. This allows for improved business outcomes and helps your team generate more trust in the AI outputs.

While it’s important to remember that AI and BI are two different tools with different functions, combining the two systems can deliver many benefits for your organization. Want to learn more? Check out the integrated AI capabilities within the Domo platform. With it, you can get the benefits of a leading business intelligence platform combined with AI tools designed specifically to help your company get the most out of your data.



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