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What Is Business Analytics?

If you are a sports fan, you have probably encountered the term "analytics." Analytics is reshaping the way team executives look at the performance of their players.

But analytics are also driving change in the business world. Business analytics is a growing field that companies are using to evaluate themselves as well as the competition.

The Basics

In a nutshell, business analytics is a relatively broad term used to describe the way companies measure their performance.

It can be used to evaluate the performance of a particular project, a specific product, or the company overall. Executives use analytics to pinpoint areas that are performing well and also those that are not. This helps the company plan its growth and determine specific challenges that lie ahead.

Real-World Examples

These are just a few of the ways in which executives put business analytics to work.

Marketing – Marketing directors might use analytics to gather information on the number of leads their efforts are generating. Or, they might turn to analytics for insights on how customers perceive the company's products or how other companies are doing. Analytics can also help executives determine the return on investment of certain marketing initiatives.

Sales – Sales managers often look at analytics to determine how long it takes salespeople to close a deal or how many leads they need in order to meet a quota.

Operations – Analytics can quickly provide an operations manager key information such as whether or not products are getting to distributors efficiently. Analytics can also help determine how long it takes for units to make it through the production process, how many units fail quality tests, and more.

Benefits of Analytics

Companies are shifting to analytics and away from traditional techniques of determining how their businesses operate. Many of these old methods took far too much time and were often unreliable. Analytics is giving businesses insights into their operations that the old tools simply cannot provide.

These are just some of the reasons analytics are gaining a foothold.

Decision-making – Business analytics provide a wealth of easily accessible information. As a result, executives and managers can make important decisions faster and easier. This is key for companies that need to act quickly to stay ahead of their competitors. The decisions are smarter because they are backed by hard data.

Identifying trends – The data provided by analytics can also give decision-makers a much more accurate picture of the competitive landscape.

Keeping up with rapid change – In many industries, change happens fast. People are buying goods in different ways than they did in the past, and major changes have affected the ways companies communicate with customers. No matter how successful a company may be, it can quickly find itself left in the dust if it doesn't adjust to these changes.

However, analytics can keep companies from falling behind. They provide immediate insights into how a company is performing and how the market is behaving. By providing real-time forecasts, business analytics can help executives in ways that weren't possible before.

Help with expansion plans – Data pertaining to things such as equipment maintenance, customer demographics, and distribution scheduling can provide insights to help shape a company's plans to expand.

Strengthening marketing efforts – Marketing is, of course, critical to the success of any business. Analytics can help with marketing by providing detailed information on customer preferences and competitors' marketing efforts. They give companies clues on how to differentiate their offerings and separate themselves from the competition.

Business Analytics Job Descriptions

Zippia, a company that helps job seekers make career decisions, looked at the business analytics openings of several companies. These are just a few of the responsibilities that appeared in the job descriptions.

  • Identifying risks for a company's clients
  • Researching, analyzing and validating business requirements
  • Managing software development processes using different methodologies
  • Crafting and executing strategic initiatives
  • Helping the organization digest large sources of data
  • Responding to inquiries from clients and/or vendors
  • Configuring system platforms

People getting into business analytics need to have a wide range of capabilities. They need technical knowledge of software systems and the ability to perform a great deal of research. But they also need to have the communication skills to explain how their research impacts their company and their company's customers.

The Outlook for Business Analytics Careers

According to research from Burning Glass Technologies, jobs related to business analytics are positioned for substantial growth in the coming years. Here is a look at some specific job titles and the growth percentages expected for each through 2026:

  • Information security analysts – 8%
  • Market research analysts – 6%
  • Financial analysts – 4%
  • Management analysts – 3%

It All Starts With Education

One of the best ways to prepare for a business analytics career is to pursue an analytics-focused MBA program that enhances your technical, research and decision-making skills, among many others. Carefully research your options to make sure the school you choose will do the best job of getting you ready for a potentially lucrative career.

Learn more about Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's online MBA with a Business Analytics Specialization program.


Sources:

Techopedia: Business Analytics (BA)

AWS: What Is Business Analytics?

Techopedia: The 4 Key Benefits of Business Analytics

IBM: 5 Ways Business Analytics Can Grow Your Business

Zippia: Business Analyst Job Description

Burning Glass Technologies – "Summary Demand and Requirements Table by Occupation"


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