Many people use the terms Business Intelligence (BI) and Competitive Intelligence (CI) interchangeably. Yet more people lump both terms in with nonsense business buzz-terms like “synergizing a paradigm” that junior businesspeople are so fond of.

Part of this confusion arises because BI often penetrates all departments in a company, so HR data analysis can look just like an HR function rather than a BI function. The often clandestine operations of the CI department cannot help the definitional confusion either.

The definitions

Business Intelligence Definition

Internal data collection and analysis that provides context and decision support for managers.

Competitive Intelligence Definition

Data collection and analysis of the external world – such as customers, competitors, suppliers, regulators, and more – that provides context and decision support for managers.

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