We do so much on the Internet or in virtual transactions, we leave a trail of data. When you click on an advertisement, scan your loyalty card in the supermarket or search a specific term on Google, businesses collect data about you. This could be to personalize their product or service and better meet customer needs, or to make important business decisions based on purchase trends.
Why is data such an integral part of how businesses operate? Because the number is not a lie, says Dimitri Bertsimus, Associate Dean of Business Analytics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management. He describes the data as an “objective reality” for businesses. Contrary to our own opinion, data is actually based, and that is what businesses need to improve their operations and sales and increase customer retention.
Those wishing to pursue a data-related career may consider business analytics. But first, it is important to understand what happens and why data plays such an important role in today’s business world.
Business analytics is the science of using data to build mathematical models and reach decisions that hold value for a company or organization, Bertsimus says. It is relevant in almost every field, be it medical, technology, retail or real estate.
“The world of data is very extreme, and to leverage it effectively doesn’t put a company in a competitive hole,” says Douglas Lanai, innovation partner for data and analytics strategy at business and technology consulting firm West Monroe And “author of infonomics.” He says that business analysis is “about using data to generate insights.”
There is more data available for businesses than ever before, which is why business analytics is a growing field. But how and why professionals use data to make decisions depends on the industry. Airlines, for example, can rely on business analytics to determine ticket prices, while hospitals use data or schedule surgeries to optimize the flow of patients.
“It’s the process, in other words, from data to models to price decisions,” Bertissmas says.
Simply put, says Bertissimus, business-analytics professionals gather data and analyze it to influence decisions in an organization.
There are different types of business analytics. Descriptive analysis uses data to identify historical business trends within a company. Predictive analysis identifies potential outcomes or events. Prescriptive analytics are used in the decision-making part of the process – to recommend actions that can help a business reach desired results.
Most business-analytics professionals focus on descriptive and predictive analytics, although some also work on prescriptive analytics, Bertsimus says.
Soft skill and hard skill
A business-analysis professional needs to be a strong communicator and storyteller first and foremost, Laney says.
Bertsimus agrees, noting that if others in your organization are not able to understand the data, no one will find your findings useful.
Business analytics professionals – especially those in senior positions – should also have knowledge of the scientific method, because analyzing, reaching conclusions, and sometimes retiring are a big part of those roles, Lanai says. In addition, someone in the field “not only understands the business, but also the data that captures the business and that external data sources may be available and useful,” says Laney.
When it comes to hard skills, learning a programming language can be beneficial, says Bertsimas – maybe R or Python. He recommends taking free or low-cost online classes in these areas, as well as Data science And machine learning.
Laney says that a strong knowledge of mathematics and statistics can also be beneficial. However, he notes that “there are a host of technical products for performing visualization and coding algorithms, but they are always changing.
“I wouldn’t really encourage anyone to decide on any kind of technology because it would be secondary in two to three years,” Laney says. “So understand the process of doing analytics, understand the business, what data is available, how to prepare the data.”
Characteristics and characteristics
Business analytics professionals need an innate curiosity with the desire and ability to test different hypotheses.
They should also be good for working and training with others.
“Most companies are trying to move towards ‘self-service analytics’.” More and more, they say, companies are training everyone in the organization to be professional analysis professionals at some level.
In addition, Bertimas states that business-analytics professionals need maturity to understand organizational processes and how businesses operate, especially because other employees in your company can use your analysis to make critical decisions. .
Example of Business Analytics at Workplace
For an example of real-world business analytics, Lane pointed to Walmart, which has a search engine on its website that searches millions of products each month.
In one example, Walmart assumed that consumers searching for the word “home” were going the wrong way. Their results were related to Housing Goods, Doghouse and Housewise, while consumers were actually searching for the DVD set of the TV series “House”. Time aligned with the launch of the latest season.
This is where business-analytics professionals came.
“Walmart realized that their search engine was only looking at their own data – not looking at external data. Not seeing what was going on in the world. “And once they incorporated external data from Twitter and Facebook and elsewhere into their search engine, they found that they were able to reduce ‘shopping-cart abandonment’ across the board from 10% to 15%.” “
Bertimas also cites clothing shops. They use historical sales data to determine what type of clothing and what color and quantity.
There are many resources available online that can help you develop your business-analysis skills.
Business Analytics vs Data Analytics
While Lanny states that the two regions are primarily the same, Bertsimus says that there is little difference. They say that large and business analytics involves forecasting, from analyzing data to making decisions, data analytics focuses on the first two steps.
Business Analytics vs Data Science
“Data science is probably a corner of business analytics,” Laney says. “This involves developing more complex algorithms, which are joining more predictive and diagnostic and diagnostic types of predictors.”
In general, business analytics is more about generating dashboards and simpler visualizations, while data science dives into complex, sophisticated solutions, he says.
Business Analytics vs Business Intelligence
Both experts say that these areas are interchangeable.
Consider your goals before learning about business analytics online. There is a difference between taking a free or low-cost online course in the field and obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business analytics. What is right for you will depend to a large extent on what you want to achieve.
If you are looking for a basic background in business analytics, perhaps to acquire skills relevant to your current job, you may want to pursue a low-cost option. If you want to make a major career change, consider a degree.
If you’re taking online classes, “you need the aspiration and the will and stamina to complete these courses,” Bertsimus says. Without an instructor to guide you, self-motivation and discipline will be important.
After learning the basics of business analytics, Laney voluntarily recommends a non-profit organization to help it gain critical insights from its data.
He also says that people interested in business analytics can consider online forums like Kaggle.
“Companies held contests where they are trying to solve a particular analytical problem, and they have set up a data, and people, individually or in groups, have the best analytical model to solve that problem. Try to come together, and then they could win cash prizes or other types of prizes, ”says Laney.