June 18, 2024

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What is Business Analytics and How Does it Work?

5 min read

Business analytics is the process of analyzing data to extract insights that can help businesses make better decisions. It involves using data to understand patterns and trends and using those insights to improve business operations.

There are many different types of business analytics, including customer analytics, marketing analytics, financial analytics and operations analytics. Each type of analytics uses different techniques and tools to analyze data and extract insights.

Business analytics is a growing field, and there is an increasing demand for professionals who are skilled in data analysis and interpretation. If you are interested in a career in business analytics, an online business analytics degree from Aston University can help you tailor your studies to prepare for a job in the field. You will learn subjects such as financial accounting, statistical analysis, marketing, and business strategy, along with data mining algorithms and decision support. More interestingly, you can study the program at your own pace without affecting your work and family commitments, as studies are done online.

How does business analytics work?

Business analytics involves the use of statistical methods and software to gain insights from data that can help organizations make better decisions. It is a relatively new field that is growing in popularity as organizations increasingly recognize and rely on the value of data-driven decision-making. 

The role of a business analyst is to analyze data, find patterns and use those patterns to make business decisions. Business analytics, including predictive analytics, relies on a variety of statistical tools, including regression analysis and clustering, optimization and simulation modeling, and time-series analysis. It is also used to find information that is hidden in plain view, such as data leaks or fraud.

The office manager of a small business may be responsible for gathering and analyzing relevant data on a daily basis, but an analyst must be able to gather and analyze data using specialized software. The analyst must be creative and resourceful, able to analyze and interpret data in a way that produces appropriate decisions.

Where is business analytics applied?

There are many different applications of business analytics, but some common examples include marketing analysis, customer segmentation and financial analysis. 

Business analytics can be used by almost any industry, but it is typically used by retail, insurance and healthcare companies. In these industries, business analytics is typically used for customer analytics, marketing analytics and operations analytics.

Customer analytics is used to identify customer trends and preferences, employing customer data to understand customer needs and improve customer satisfaction. Customer data is often collected from a company’s website, and from customer loyalty programs, such as frequent flyer programs. Customer analytics involves examining customer data to understand customer behaviors and make changes in service designs based on findings.

Marketing analytics involves the use of analytics to identify potential marketing opportunities and assess the potential effectiveness of a marketing initiative. It is used to identify customers who have a high propensity to purchase a product, and it is used to develop marketing strategies and test the effectiveness of any marketing campaign. Marketing analytics includes customer analysis, decision support and the use of predictive analytics.

What skills do business analytics professionals need?

The skills required of a business analytics professional depend on the specific business analytics role. There are many different types of careers within business analytics, including predictive analytics and big data analytics. As technology grows and big data becomes increasingly important, the need for professionals with skills in data analytics will continue to grow. 

Core business analytics skills

Business analytics professionals typically need a broad array of technical skills, including critical thinking, communication, statistical analysis and business strategy. Business analysts must be able to gather, analyze and interpret data, but they must also be able to share their findings in a way that others can understand. They must be able to work in teams and present their findings to leadership and decision-makers. 

Here are some essential analytical skills you must possess:

  • A problem-solver – You need to solve problems in an effective, efficient and practical way. The best problem solvers can take complex issues and reduce them to their simplest form.
  • Inquisitive – You need to be very receptive to new ideas. However, be sure that the idea is something worth implementing. You need to be able to see how these new ideas will improve your results and accomplish your goals.
  • A critical thinker – You must be able to read analysis feeds, channel news feeds and sources, and highlight the best content to share with your colleagues. You will not succeed as a business analytics professional if you are not curious, skeptical and critical of what you see and read.
  • Detail-oriented – Details are very important to this profession. You need to analyze and understand many different factors. You must pay attention to the details and be able to recognize what is going on around you.
  • A visualizer – You need to be able to make sense of data and be able to put it to work. You will not be successful as a results-driven professional if you cannot take information and find what you need. You need to use your creativity to make good decisions.

Technical skills

There are several technical skills that are absolutely crucial for success. These skills include database structure and the ability to analyze metrics using software. It is important to have the ability to conduct research, data analysis and statistical analysis.

Some essential tools for analytics professionals include:

  • SQL – SQL, or Structured Query Language, is the most common programming language used to query databases, and it is crucial to business analytics. SQL can be used to create reports and perform data analytics by writing queries to retrieve and manipulate data.
  • Statistical software – Statistical software is used to analyze data and identify patterns, and it is crucial for identifying nodes and clusters. When analyzing and managing data, you can use SPSS, Sage, SAS, Excel and Mathematica.
  • Statistical languages – There are many different statistical languages, including Python, R and M. These languages are used to provide descriptive statistics, regression analysis and computer-assisted analysis of data.
  • Database management – You are not required to be an expert database developer, but you need to be able to understand how to manage and manipulate database information.

Final thoughts

A career as a business analytics professional can provide you with the opportunity to use your organizational, analytical and creative skills in a fast-paced, challenging work environment. It will provide you with the opportunity to work with a team, and to help identify opportunities for improvement within organizations. It is a growing and evolving field, and it offers the opportunity for personal growth, but the time commitment can be challenging. 

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