Business Data Analytics: 5 Essentials

 / February 26, 2024

In today’s fast-paced world, business data analytics plays a pivotal role. It’s the secret sauce that helps businesses make informed decisions, optimize operations, and stay competitive. This article is a treasure trove for those who are curious about this exciting field.

Whether you’re a high school student exploring career options, a professional looking to upskill, or someone simply interested in business analytics, this article has something for you. 

The article unfolds: 

  • Clear definition of business data analytics;
  • 5 responsibilities of business data analysts, drawing insights from industry experts at Designveloper (DSV);
  • Essential skills or tools, 5 impacts of business data analytics as well as 5 relevant courses that can help you acquire these skills.

But that’s not all. The article also presents real-world examples that showcase the profound impacts of business data analytics. These examples will give you a glimpse of how data analytics can transform businesses.

So, if you’re ready to embark on an enlightening journey into the world of business data analytics, keep reading. 

What is Business Data Analytics?

What is Business Data Analytics?

Business data analytics (known as “business analytics”) is a practice that involves the use of statistical techniques, computational tools, and methodologies to analyze business data. The goal is to extract valuable insights that can aid in decision-making, improve business operations, and drive growth.

Business Data Analytics vs. Traditional Data Analytics and Business Intelligence

While all three fields involve working with data, there are key differences.

Traditional data analytics often involves analyzing historical data to understand past trends. It’s reactive, providing insights into what has happened.

On the other hand, business data analytics is more proactive. It not only analyzes historical data but also uses predictive analytics to forecast future trends. It’s about making data actionable, then using it to drive strategic decisions and business growth.

Business intelligence (BI) is another related field. It involves the use of software and services to transform data into actionable intelligence. While BI provides descriptive insights (what happened and why), business data analytics goes a step further. It provides predictive (what could happen) and prescriptive insights (what action should be taken).

In essence, business data analytics is a more comprehensive approach to data analysis. It combines the best of traditional data analytics and business intelligence, providing businesses with the insights they need to thrive in today’s data-driven world.

FURTHER READING:
1. 10 Best Data Analytics Software in 2024: A Complete Guide
2. 10 Leading Data Analytics Companies in 2024
3. Data Analyst vs Business Analyst: A Comparative Guide for Beginners

Importance of Business Data Analytics in Businesses

Importance of Business Data Analytics in Businesses

In the business world, data is a gold mine. It holds the key to understanding market trends, customer behavior, operational bottlenecks, and much more. 

Business data analytics helps businesses unlock this potential. It allows them to transform raw data into meaningful information, providing a deeper understanding of their performance, customers, and market.

According to a study by MicroStrategy, companies across the globe are leveraging data to enhance efficiency and productivity (64%), facilitate more effective decision-making (56%), and drive superior financial performance (51%). For this reason, 65% of global enterprises plan to increase their analytics spending.

The importance of business data analytics in today’s business landscape is undeniable. But will it continue to hold such significance in the future? 

The number suggests a resounding yes. According to Mordor Intelligence, the business data analytics market, valued at USD 81.46 billion in 2023, is projected to reach USD 130.95 billion in the next five years, growing at a CAGR of 8.07%.

And coupled with this growth, you may observe some outstanding trends in business analytics as follows:

Diverse Data Sources

Previously, many businesses made strategic decisions by analyzing business data that come from expansive, centrally controlled data servers or repositories. But, there has been a paradigm shift in this scenario. Today, business analysts are garnering data from an array of varied sources, especially social networking platforms.

Focus on BI & Data Visualization

The business analytics market is rapidly changing its focus on BI and Data Visualization. While real-time BI serves quicker decision-making, Data Visualization is widely used for clearer pattern recognition. 

Investment in Advanced Techs

Vendors are stepping up their game by introducing innovative business analytics solutions. They’re integrating advanced technologies (like Machine Learning) for superior data storage and visualization. For this reason, modern business analytics platforms can offer enhanced data visibility and understanding.

With the higher demand for data and advanced techs, business data analytics continues to be a vital tool for businesses in the future, driving strategic decisions and fostering growth. 

5 Responsibilities of a Business Data Analyst from Designveloper’s Insight

5 Responsibilities of a Business Data Analyst from Designveloper’s Insight

At DSV, a business data analyst plays a multifaceted role that involves collecting, mining, analyzing, predicting, and visualizing data. Each of these responsibilities is crucial in helping the company leverage data to drive business growth and success.

Also, this role requires a strong understanding of data analysis techniques, a keen eye for detail, and the ability to communicate complex information clearly.

To further understand how business analysts work in DSV, let’s take a closer look at their key responsibilities:

Data Collection

The first step in the data analytics process is collecting data. At DSV, business data analysts gather data from various sources, both internal and external. This could include sales figures, market research, logistics, or customer feedback. The goal is to collect high-quality data that is relevant and reliable.

Data Mining

Once the data is collected, we’ll move to the next step known as Data Mining. This involves using sophisticated statistical techniques and advanced software to sift through large data sets and uncover hidden patterns, correlations, and insights. These insights can help us make informed decisions, identify opportunities for growth, and predict future trends. 

Descriptive Analytics

Descriptive analytics is all about interpreting historical data to understand what has happened in the past. This involves examining key performance indicators (KPIs), identifying trends, and understanding the factors that have contributed to these trends. By understanding our past performance, we can identify areas for improvement and make strategic decisions for the future.

Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics involves using statistical models and forecasts to understand the future. At DSV, we employ data and statistical algorithms to create predictive models that can anticipate customer behavior, market trends, and business outcomes. This helps the company to be proactive, quickly adapt to changing market conditions, and make data-driven decisions. 

Visualization and Reporting

To ensure all stakeholders understand what data tells, DSV uses data visualization tools built in software like Tableau or Power BI to create visual representations of the data (e.g., charts, graphs, and dashboards). We also prepare detailed reports that provide insights into our performance, trends, and forecasts. These visualizations and reports enable data-driven decision-making and strategic planning at DSV.

Essential Skills and Tools for a Business Data Analyst

Essential Skills and Tools for a Business Data Analyst

In the dynamic world of business data analytics, possessing the right skills and tools is of paramount importance. 

A business data analyst serves as a vital link, transforming raw data into meaningful business insights. This transformation, however, requires a unique blend of technical prowess, tool proficiency, and soft skills. 

So, what essential skills and tools should a business data analyst have? Let’s take a look:

Technical Skills and Tools

First, consider several technical skills the analyst must hone, coupled with corresponding tools:

  1. Statistical Analysis: A robust understanding of statistics is vital for interpreting data. It allows analysts to identify trends, test hypotheses, and make predictions. Tools like R and Python, with libraries such as NumPy and SciPy, are commonly used for statistical analysis.
  2. Data Manipulation and Analysis: Analysts often work with large datasets that need to be manipulated and analyzed. Proficiency in SQL for querying databases, and tools like Excel for spreadsheet analysis are fundamental. Python’s Pandas library is also a powerful tool for data manipulation and analysis.
  3. Data Visualization: The ability to present data in a clear, visual format helps stakeholders understand complex data insights at a glance. Some popular tools providing this feature include Tableau and Power BI.
  4. Machine Learning: A basic understanding of machine learning algorithms and their applications can be beneficial. It allows analysts to build predictive models and uncover patterns in data. Mastering programming languages like R or Python and some tools like Python’s Scikit-learn or TensorFlow helps analysts in this area.
  5. Data Warehousing: Knowledge of data warehousing concepts and tools like Hadoop, Apache Hive or Google BigQuery can be advantageous. It enables analysts to manage and retrieve data efficiently.
  6. Documentation: Familiarity with documentation tools like Confluence or Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) is important for recording findings and methodologies. Good documentation ensures transparency and reproducibility in data analysis.

Soft Skills

Apart from technical skills, a business analyst must develop some following soft skills

  1. Problem-Solving: The ability to approach complex business problems, hypothesize solutions, and test them with data is crucial. It involves creativity, logical reasoning, and a systematic approach.
  2. Communication: Analysts need to communicate their findings to relevant stakeholders. Good communication ensures that insights are understood and acted upon.
  3. Critical Thinking: The ability to question assumptions, validate data, and interpret results in the context of the business is important. It prevents misinterpretation of data and ensures accurate insights.
  4. Attention to Detail: Precision and accuracy in data analysis are vital to avoid costly mistakes and inaccurate conclusions. It involves checking data for errors, outliers, and inconsistencies.
  5. Business Acumen: Understanding the business context and industry trends helps in deriving meaningful insights from data. It allows analysts to align their analysis with business objectives.
  6. Teamwork: Collaborating effectively with diverse teams, including data scientists, IT staff, and business executives, is often required in a data analyst role. It promotes a holistic approach to problem-solving.
  7. Time Management: Balancing multiple projects and meeting deadlines is a common part of a data analyst’s role. Good time management ensures productivity and efficiency.

Remember, the best data analysts are lifelong learners, constantly updating their skills and tools to keep up with the rapidly evolving data landscape. So when pursuing this career, keep learning to advance your professional knowledge and soft skills.

5 Real-World Impacts of Business Data Analytics

5 Real-World Impacts of Business Data Analytics

Having explored the responsibilities of business analysts and the skills they need to excel, it’s crucial to understand the tangible effects of their work. In this section, we’ll delve into how the data-driven insights generated by these professionals are making a significant difference in the business world.

Western Digital

As a global pioneer in data storage technology, Western Digital harnesses the power of data analytics to streamline its operations and guide strategic decision-making. 

Their proprietary Western Digital Device Analytics (WDDA) offers proactive surveillance of the storage subsystem, mitigating unforeseen disruptions. 

Their data analytics capabilities extend to managing analytics across diverse geographical locations, enhancing data protection, and establishing a real-time framework for security and cybersecurity event management. 

This empowers them to forecast demand, administer inventory, and curtail operational expenses, culminating in heightened customer satisfaction and augmented profitability.

Adventist Health

Adventist Health employs data analytics to enhance patient care and operational efficiency. They utilize AI endpoint analytics to maintain their network, identifying and profiling over 58,000 healthcare-related devices, thereby gaining unparalleled visibility and a robust foundation for formulating security policies. 

Their use of data analytics extends to financial planning, where a small team of data analysts caters to the analytics needs of 900 individuals. By scrutinizing patient data, they can discern patterns and trends, predict health outcomes, and devise personalized treatment plans, leading to improved patient outcomes and diminished healthcare costs.

American Express

American Express leverages data analytics to identify fraudulent transactions and make informed business decisions. They scrutinize historical transactions and 115 variables to predict potential churn. 

They also employ machine learning models to achieve superior discrimination and gain a deeper understanding of customer behavior. 

By examining patterns and anomalies in transaction data, they can pinpoint potential fraud and implement preventive measures, resulting in decreased financial losses and enhanced customer trust.

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs, a multinational investment bank and financial services company, utilizes data analytics for regulatory compliance, gaining market insights, and developing new products. 

They employ advanced statistical software to manage and analyze vast volumes of data, enabling them to foresee the impacts of economic, market, and regulatory forces on business strategy and outcomes.

Microsoft

Microsoft employs data analytics to refine its software products and services. They gather and analyze user feedback and usage data to comprehend how users interact with their products and identify potential improvements. This approach has led to enhanced product quality and user satisfaction.

5 Courses for Aspiring Business Data Analysts

After gaining a basic understanding and recognizing the potential of business data analysts, it’s crucial to consider the courses that can further enhance your skills and knowledge in this field. 

They not only provide a structured way to learn the necessary skills but also add credibility to your profile. Here are some popular courses for those interested in becoming a business data analyst: 

Business Analytics, University of Harvard

Business Analytics, University of Harvard

Study Format: Online

Duration: 8 weeks

Tuition fees: USD 1,750 + applicable international taxes

Scholarship or Financial Aids: Yes

The course provides key knowledge on data interpretation, trend recognition, variable analysis, hypothesis development, survey design, and implementation of analytical techniques in Excel. 

It also offers an engaging learning experience with activities every three to five minutes and opportunities for collaboration with a global community of peers. Besides, the course allows you to access real-world examples to understand how business analytics is applied in industry-leading companies like Walt Disney Studios or Amazon. 

Who is this for: This course is ideal for college students or recent graduates looking to use basic statistics in real business cases. Further, it welcomes those considering higher education to advance their analytical skills or mid-career professionals seeking hands-on experience in interpreting and analyzing data. 

Certification: Upon completion, you’ll earn a Certificate of Completion to enhance your resume. But if you complete the three-course CORe curriculum and pass the HBS Online exam, you’ll obtain a Credential of Readiness to demonstrate your mastery of business basics.

Business Analytics Specialization, Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania

Business Analytics Specialization, Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania

Study Format: Online

Duration: 4 weeks per course, 2-3 hours per week

Tuition fees: USD 79 per month

Scholarship or Financial Aids: Yes

This program equips you with the essential skills to cultivate data literacy and an analytic mindset. Accordingly, you can make strategic decisions across different parts of a business, like marketing, finance, or operations. 

The program includes the following courses:

  1. Customer Analytics: Wharton’s esteemed marketing professors offer an overview of customer analytics through real-world business practices at leading companies like Amazon, Google, and Starbucks.
  1. Operations Analytics: This course focuses on leveraging data to profitably align supply with demand in various business settings.
  1. People Analytics: In this course, Wharton’s top professors and pioneers in people analytics will explore state-of-the-art techniques used to recruit and retain top talent, showcasing how these techniques are employed at cutting-edge companies.
  1. Accounting Analytics: This course gives you knowledge on how data is leveraged to evaluate the factors influencing financial performance and to predict upcoming financial conditions. 
  1. Business Analytics Capstone: Through this capstone project, you can use your understanding of data analytics to address a practical business problem that global tech giants (like Google or Facebook) are facing. 

Who is this for: This program is designed for managers and leaders seeking to break away from the pack. The Business Analytics online program offers an introduction to big data analytics for all business professionals, including those with no prior analytics experience.

Certification: Upon completion, you’ll earn the Specialization Certificate.

Business Analytics: From Data to Decisions, Imperial College Business School

Business Analytics: From Data to Decisions, Imperial College Business School

Study Format: Online, part-time

Duration: 16 weeks 

Tuition fees: £1,880

Scholarship or Financial Aids: No, but you can get £188 off if you refer your coworkers to this course

This program empowers you to leverage descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics to tackle complex business challenges. You’ll also gain the skills to critically assess recommendations and effectively communicate with technical experts, amplifying your influence within your organization.

In this 16-week online journey, you’ll collaborate with a diverse group of peers to delve into the practical implications of the analytical models you’re studying. Also, you can engage in live online teaching sessions and video lectures, enriched with interactive activities and assignments. 

No prior coding experience is necessary. It’s because the program includes two primer modules to familiarise you with mathematics, statistics, and Python.

Who is this for: This global program is tailored for seasoned professionals seeking to enhance their decision-making capabilities and propel their careers forward with data analytics.

Certification: Upon completion, you’ll earn a verified Digital Certificate from Imperial College Business School.

Bachelor of Science in Business Data Analytics, Arizona State University

Bachelor of Science in Business Data Analytics, Arizona State University

Study Format: On campus or online

Duration: 3 – 4 years

Tuition fees: Not specified

Scholarship or Financial Aids: Yes

The Bachelor’s degree in Business Data Analytics is a comprehensive program designed to equip you with the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to spearhead big data initiatives and manage associated business processes. This program, thereby, enables you to practice large-scale business data analytics within organizations.

The program imparts both organizational and technical competencies, enabling you to execute data collection, cleansing, integration, and modeling tasks, as well as perform data asset analysis for business applications. 

It also provides a thorough understanding of data warehousing, dimensional modeling, big data analytics methodologies, and visualization tools and techniques, while also introducing subjects such as data mining and predictive analytics.

Who is this for: This program is ideal for those who wish to delve deeper into the field of business data analytics beyond short courses. It offers an opportunity to gain profound academic knowledge in this rapidly evolving field.

Degree: Upon completion, you’ll receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Data Analytics.

BS in Business Analytics, The George Washington University (GW)

BS in Business Analytics, The George Washington University (GW)

Study Format: On campus

Duration: Not specified, but the degree requires students to complete 120 credits (including mandatory and elective courses)

Tuition fees: $85,740 for new, first-time students & $89,090 for continuing students (estimated in the 2023-2024 academic year)

Scholarship or Financial Aids: Yes

Like Arizona State University, this BS program at the GW Business School also offers a robust curriculum that combines foundational courses in descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics. Besides, it provides students with elective options in specific functional areas, soft skills, and practical exposure to industry-standard analytics tools.

Further, you’ll have a chance to implement an industry-related project that serves as a capstone experience. There, you can work on a real-world problem, typically from one of the school’s advisory board partner firms, and present your findings upon completion.

Who is this for: This degree is ideal for students who are passionate about data analytics in the business context. Depending on their academic and career aspirations, students can choose this degree as their primary or secondary major.

Degree: Upon completion, you’ll receive a Bachelor of Science in Business Analytics from the GW Business School.

Final Words

So, there you have it! You’ve explored the secrets behind business data analytics, uncovering its duties, tools, and real-world magic. 

Data is the key to unlocking hidden insights and propelling businesses forward. But this field isn’t just for tech geeks; it’s open to anyone with a curious mind and a desire to make an impact. If you’re curious, ambitious, and ready to learn, this field has a place for you. 

Start by exploring the resources mentioned earlier. Take a course, learn a new tool, or simply dive deeper into the amazing examples we shared. With each step, you’ll unlock a new piece of the puzzle. Who knows, you might even become the next business data analyst, transforming businesses and making a real impact on the world!

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