What is Business Analytics?

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Disclaimer

Business analytics is one of my passions however, I have not been formally trained in this area as yet. I will be attending graduate school next fall, where I will be doing my MBA with a business analytics concentration.

So, in this article I am sharing with you my research and considerations about business analytics. It is for those who are not aware of the subject area or those who are interested in making a career change and wish to have more information.

Definition

Business analytics is taking data analytics and focusing the insights on solving real business problems – this includes existing problems or weak signals of emergent change. This is a specific area of data science that deals with making as much impact as possible for your company. Impact could be in the form of insights or product recommendations.

There are many definitions for the term but the simplest, to me, is how OmniSci described it:

Business Analytics is the process by which businesses use statistical methods and technologies for analysing historical data in order to gain new insight and improve strategic decision-making.

Application of business analytics

Business analytics can be applied to all business disciplines. We are living in an age of high information volumes or big data; the simplest set of data can reveal remarkable insights. Here is an example:

 

Say you had a small coffee and bagel shop; you took the last twelve months of sales from your QuickBooks report and you realized that 60% of customers who bought coffee also bought a bagel. And when you ran out of bagels, your coffee sales for that period fell by 40%.

Table 1. Showing the 12 months of sales for the coffee shop.

With these insights you could decide on the following:

  1. Improving aspects of your supply chain to minimize the instances where you would run out of bagels
  2. Sampling other pastries to see if you could satisfy other palates – thus increase sales
  3. Investigate if there is a specific time period per day that coffee sales had fallen more, due to no bagels
    1. This may lead to a better understanding of your customer base – to which you could create a better product offering

There are probably many more or better decisions that could be made from analysing this data. Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Some business analytics tools

Data visualizations

Data visualization is the visual display of the data gathered for an easier inference – making the analysis of the data more comprehensible for everyone, especially for those with a lower tolerance for quantitative analysis.

These tools are often written by programmers with one of the following languages as its base: Python, R, JavaScript, MATLAB, etc. Here are some examples of some paid tools (click here for more details on each type):

  • Tableau
  • Qlikview
  • FusionCharts
  • Highcharts
  • Datawrapper
  • Plotly
  • Sisense

However, for a small business though, the following can be really helpful:

  • Microsoft suite, a combination of the following could help
    • Excel
    • Word
    • Publisher
Figure 1. Showing a visualization of Company A's sales funnel

Data mining

Google describes this as:

The practice of examining large pre-existing databases in order to generate new information.

Google Search

Statistical modelling, machine learning and specific algorithms are used to transform the data during the mining process. Some data mining tools and techniques are as follows (click here for more details on some):

Tools

  1. Rapid Miner
  2. Weka
  3. Orange
  4. R
  5. Knime
  6. Rattle
  7. Tanagra
  8. XL Miner
  9. Oracle Data Mining
  10. Python

Techniques

  1. Regression
  2. Association Rule Discovery
  3. Classification
  4. Clustering

The requirements to study business analytics

This is dependent on the career path you are looking to go on and the institution you are looking to enrol with. Some programs, like the MSBA program at the Mendoza College of Business, does not require extensive programming skills. Their curriculum is designed to teach you all you need to know to become competent as an analyst. However, there are a few quantitative background skills that an enrolled student must possess:

  • Statistics
  • Two business courses in accounting, finance, management, or marketing

If you will be doing a masters course, most schools require you to:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school?
  • Have some amount of work experience
  • Take the GMAT/GRE exams

If, however, you are looking to just be a part of data analytics without going too deep into  the interpretation of the data, then you could enrol in one of the following.

  • Data science bootcamps
  • Data science certificate course

Top 10 business analytics programs in the world

The below list of schools fall in the top 10 ranking of most lists on the internet. If you are interested in doing a masters, I suggest that you do the following.

  1. Think hard and come up with some goals that you would want to achieve out of a program
  2. Research these schools, and others, to see which would be the best support in helping you to achieve your set goals

Top universities for a master’s in business analytics

  • MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Imperial College Business School
  • University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business
  • ESSEC/CentraleSupélec
  • ESADE
  • USC Marshall School of Business
  • Alliance Manchester Business School
  • Warwick Business School
  • University of Edinburgh Business School
  • University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management
  • MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Wharton School
  • Kellogg School of Management

Some positions that would use this skill

Here are some positions you could aspire towards as well as some skills to list on your resume after certification

  1. Data Analyst
  2. Business Intelligence Analyst
  3. Business Development Associate
  4. Operations Analyst
  5. Data Scientist
  6. Business Manager
  7. Technology Advisor Consultant

This is just to name a few. I am certain you will find many more options when you begin searching.

Summary

This article is for those who are not aware of business analytics or those who are interested in making a career change and wish to have more information.

Business analytics is a specific area of data science that deals with making as much impact as possible for your company. Impact could be in the form of insights or product recommendations.

Business analytics can be applied to all business disciplines by providing insights through data mining and data visualizations.

I hope you find this article helpful. Please click the share buttons at the top, to post this article on your social media pages. Thanks for reading!

5 thoughts on “What is Business Analytics?”

  1. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up!
    I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later. All the best

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