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What is Reporting vs. Analytics anyway? by Murali Sastry

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What is Reporting vs. Analytics anyway? by Murali Sastry

[ Edited ]

Many a times organizations everywhere utilize the terms “reporting” and “analytics” and sometimes interchangeably. There are several key differences between the two. As part of course curriculum towards analytics degree, there was an assignment for me to compare reporting vs. analytics. The following table provides the details of my findings towards the assignment.



Reporting is the process of providing status of actual performance against defined business initiatives (actual vs. targets) thus helping with informed business decisions. It is business performance review of actual achievement of initiatives against predefined objectives.


Example: Monthly Key Performance Indicator (KPI) review of business objectives such as sales revenues, net income, % of product shipped against sales plan, % product defective against plan etc. 





Sales Revenue
($ Mil)




Net Income
($ Mil)



 red light.jpg


Typically Reporting is concerned with the past or the post mortem of events or transactions happened in the past (rear view mirror look at data- “what is behind us”.

Analytics is concerned with providing solutions to tactical or strategic business problems (delta between what is and should be) by understanding data, the what, why, how, and how much(many) aspects of data, finding meaningful relationships amongst factors and variables revealed by structured mining to provide much sought after answers to critical business problems.

Example: Why is Customer attrition increasing at 5% month over month for the last 2 years at XYZ company resulting in average sales revenue decline of $25 Mil per month trend in the last 2 years? (Hypothetical)


Analytics is concerned with business problems that need to be understood from enterprise or entire business perspective to provide holistic solutions with the assistance of data mining, statistics, business knowledge, empirical experiments, mathematical models etc. to provide solutions

Reporting helps in understanding the business pulse or a snapshot of business performance at a point in time to often make tactical or strategic decisions based on performance trends or performance history.

Analytics pushes the envelopes of knowledge about data that was previously unknown through disciplines mentioned above. Analytics provides answers that is not obvious by drilling deep (mining) into data to provide relationships or correlations between variables i.e., mechanism at work below the surface of customer attrition.

Reporting often involves manual intervention of data collection and comparison with business initiative(s)

Analytics answers the questions how, how much, when, where, and why to the business problems and provides insights on what could happen next (predictive) and prescribes optimized path forward plan from several alternatives with insights and information (predictive)



Beek, Michiel (2013) What is the difference between Reporting and Analytics? [Blog Post] Strategy

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 16

Re: What is Reporting vs. Analytics anyway? by Murali Sastry

Chris Hemedinger, 

Thank you for your feedback to improve the post. I appreciate it.


Murali Sastry

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