If you\u2019re as old as I am, you\u2019ve seen a lot of different names for the idea of using data and analysis to better manage organizations. First it was called decision support systems (DSS); then executive information systems (EIS); then online analytical processing (OLAP); then business intelligence (BI). It now appears that yet another term for this concept is growing in popularity. The new label is \u201cbusiness analytics.\u201dIs \u201cbusiness analytics\u201d the new name for \u201canalytics,\u201d or for \u201cbusiness intelligence\u201d more broadly? Is it a good name? What does it mean?In the past, business intelligence was an umbrella term that included both reporting on data and analyzing it with statistical and other quantitative approaches, although reporting was certainly the bulk of the activity. Hence the more recent need for the term \u201canalytics,\u201d which was more focused on quantitative analysis. I\u2019m getting the feeling, however, that \u201cbusiness analytics\u201d is the new BI. Both traditional reporting vendors (IBM\/Cognos, Oracle, SAP\/Business Objects) and traditional analytics vendors (SAS, IBM\/SPSS) seem to be using it to describe what they do.If it\u2019s the new \u201cbig church\u201d word, then, business analytics can be defined as the broad use of data and quantitative analysis for decision-making within organizations. It encompasses query and reporting, but also aspires to greater levels of mathematical sophistication. It includes analytics, of course, but let\u2019s assume that the term \u201cbusiness\u201d involves harnessing the analytics to meet defined business objectives. Business analytics enables people in an organization to make better decisions, improve processes and achieve desired outcomes. It brings together the best of data management, analytic methods, and the presentation of results.Some might object that \u201cbusiness analytics\u201d is not a good term for all BI activity because it excludes governmental and nonprofit organizations. But it doesn\u2019t have to. The meaning of \u201cbusiness\u201d here could be that of \u201can immediate task or objective,\u201d with analytics being a means to achieve that objective. Governmental and non-profit organizations can use business analytics to advance their objectives as well, and in fact many do just that.Of course, new terms have their consequences. Next time I\u2019ll describe some of the possible ones for \u201cbusiness analytics.\u201d Overall, however, I think it\u2019s a perfectly acceptable name for what it describes and for this website!