Comparative Analysis

two people engaged in comparative analysis

Comparative analysis compares two or more data sets to analyze similarities and differences between them. The analysis can be quantitative or qualitative.

Why is Comparative Analysis Important?

In business, assessing data about multiple products, services, strategies, or competitors helps make better-informed operational or strategic decisions. When setting the direction for a company, weighing the options before moving forward is essential, such as knowing where there are gaps in the marketplace or unique product features not offered by competitors. Applying a predictive model with different assumptions to existing data sets can suggest different outcomes, enabling the business to select the desired outcome that best aligns with its current strategy.

Comparative Analysis Approach

Comparative analysis is a multi-step analytical approach. The following outlines a typical process:


Collect as much data as possible. Do the research to build a body of data that will be used for analysis. Consider many relevant perspectives and reference historical data points where available.

Tabulate Data

Create a table showing options on one axis and their attributes on the other. This allows the data to be compared and charted to see similarities and differences.

Document Findings

Create an unbiased document that compares the options for decision makers to consider. Include assumptions and possible variable scenarios.

Example Applications of Comparative Analysis

Below are business functions that use comparative analysis:

  • When considering a merger or acquisition, part of the due diligence exercise involves comparing multiple options that could influence outcomes.
  • Stock traders often compare the financial performance of multiple companies to look for potential issues or growth opportunities.
  • Because most businesses operate in a competitive market, it is important to assess their capabilities compared to those of their competition. An analysis delves into comparative Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT).
  • When making investment decisions, executives want to consider options side by side before making an informed decision.
  • Industry analysts produce reports comparing different vendors in a specific market segment. Businesses subscribe to their research and license the right to access and publish specific reports that show them in a good light.
  • In marketing, a comparative analysis measures the impact of different tactics and outreach channels to show what is delivering the most value and engagement.
  • The PR team regularly measures their organization’s share-of-voice compared to others vying for visibility in the same market.
  • Product management teams use comparative analysis when deciding which features to prioritize over others. Comparisons often include customer retention, new business, competitive advantage, and the adoption of new technology.
  • In sales management, the team’s performance is measured using comparative analysis. The data is usually collected and stored in a customer relationship management (CRM) system for reporting. Metrics can include quota attainment, deals closed, average deal size, and number of calls made.
  • Project management relies heavily on comparative analysis in program and portfolio management.

Benefits of Comparative Analysis

Comparative analysis is a widespread form of reporting. Below are some benefits of this type of analysis:

  • Supports fact-based decision-making.
  • Allows multiple choices to be compared side-by-side to enhance comprehension.
  • Comparisons can highlight the strengths or weaknesses of a particular choice.
  • Weighting can be easily applied to prioritize attributes to align with corporate objectives.
  • Metrics can be charted to ease comprehension.
  • Comparisons can be visualized using Harvey Balls to make comparisons easier to see.
  • Quantitative measures such as scores can be aggregated or averaged to support comparisons.
  • Qualitative research can be included in text form alongside metrics.
  • Documenting research this way makes business justifications easier because it demonstrates that due diligence was performed and the recommendations are based on research results.

Actian and Comparative Analysis

Comparative analysis requires sound data to be sourced from systems, prepared and stored before analysis. The Actian Data Platform lets a business easily connect to disparate data sources, including CRM systems, using advanced data integration technology that centrally manages data movement from its raw state to an analytics-ready data warehouse.

Actian Vector delivers high-performance database analytics without extensive tuning and administration. Actian Vector stores data in its columnar format and can parallelize queries within a server and across a cluster of servers to scale for large volumes of data. External data connectors support SQL access to Spark formats and common cloud platform file systems like AWS S3.

The Actian Data Platform runs on-premises and in cloud platforms, including AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. Discover its proven performance and unbeatable value with a 30-day free trial here.