Data is everywhere. Our access to data and the ability to use it to inform decision making and drive business strategy is on the rise and not slowing down. It takes a special skill set to make this data useful, however, and collecting data for the sake of it isn’t going to be of any use unless you can make sense of it. Thanks to this growth, the demand for those who can make sense of it is at an all time high, and there are more things than ever that completing a business analytics degree is going to do for you. Let’s take a quick look at what business analytics is and what kind of career you might expect once you qualify.
What Are Business Analytics?
In a nutshell, the science of business analytics is closely tied to that of a data scientist. Business analytics is the profession of collecting, understanding, sorting, processing and presenting a company’s data in a useful, constructive way. You’ll make use of some classic statistics and statistical modelling combined with some modern computing and data analytics methods to essentially understand, translate and present business datasets that can be of value. Business analytics forms part of the bigger goal of Business Intelligence and focuses on the data aspect.
To be a successful business analyst you should have a strong working knowledge and skills in the fields of data analysis, quantitative data analysis and sophisticated mathematical modelling. You can study business analytics online and add it to your existing skillset, or start a career in it as a primary focus.
An Example of Where Business Analytics is Used
Consider the booming business of on demand video streaming. Every time a subscriber to a video service streams a television show or movie, data about it can be collected. You might collect data like what time of day they watched it, what they watched before or after it, or whether they finished the title or not. You could use that data to tweak the types of things the platform recommends to the user based on their watching history.
If a user often watches reality TV shows about baking on Saturday afternoons, it would make sense to recommend a reality show to do with cooking or baking if the user logs in on a Saturday afternoon. This is business analytics on a very small scale, but apply that to millions of users and all the data you can collect on them and you have an idea of how useful it might be to be able to understand it and use it to improve your platform. Companies like Netflix do this and Netflix reported that up to 80% of consumed content now comes from recommendations based on the user and other users who match the profile’s watch history.
Turn Your Skills to Market Research
Market research is a very old and practiced profession with a rich history. Business analysts are becoming an integral part of it in the modern world and digital business analytics can inform much of the market research that leads to shifting focuses and more refined practices by businesses. In the realm of market research, your primary role will be to understand with the help of data what products are in demand and what the most effective ways of promoting them are, to which demographic promotions and advertising spend is the most effective and, at the core of it, who is willing to buy the product and at what price. Market research is a fascinating field that makes use of big data more and more.
The Emerging World of Big Data
Every day, companies around the world collect more and more data. Google collects every search query it receives and how each user interacts with the results page, Amazon collects product data, what sells alongside what, and many other such examples. Project management and business analytics, even in smaller businesses, are relying on this data more and more. If a baker constantly sells out of a type of bread, he’s likely to make more. If he also realises that a certain cheese stops selling when the bread is sold out, he can quickly analyse the correlation. Doing this on a scale where many hundreds of thousands of examples of this becomes much trickier, and that’s the realm of the business analyst.
Business analytics is an incredibly interesting and varied career and the proliferation of the effects of your work in business analytics is going to get more and more important as the world evolves to better understand what it’s capable of and what it can do for even smaller businesses.