The past decade has seen an unprecedented explosion of data which has inevitably affected the already competitive marketplace. Organisations across all sectors and industries generate colossal amounts of data, resulting in skyrocketing demand for professionals who can interpret and analyse the information for making better decisions in the workplace.
Add to that the increased access to the cloud and all the other ways technology is changing, data mining, and data analytics have taken the lead in making or breaking a business. While traditional spreadsheets have taken a backseat, insightful and actionable data visualisations and interactive business dashboards are trending.
That’s where business analytics comes into play and brings us to the most logical question – what is business analytics?
What is Business Analytics?
In the simplest terms, business analytics refers to how businesses employ different technologies, skills, and practices to analyse data, gain new insights, and improve strategic decision-making. It relies on statistical analyses to make data-driven decisions to increase productivity, revenue, and efficiency.
Even though business analytics has several use cases, its applications in commercial organisations include the following:
- Analysing data from various sources, including cloud applications, CRM software, and marketing automation tools.
- Monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and trends and how they change in real-time. It dramatically helps businesses come to conclusions rapidly and accurately.
- Business analytics is not limited to tracking current trends; with a combination of statistics and advanced analytics, it helps predict future trends and gain valuable insights on consumers and their behaviour.
- With the vast degree of data analysis that business analytic methods accomplish, businesses can rest assured that all their decisions are backed by data, not just in one but almost all business scenarios.
Business analytics uses several methods to draw insights from data, and the method you choose will depend on your business objectives. Regardless of which method you work with, the result is the same – actionable insights for the betterment of the business.
Must read: Business analytics free online courses!
Let’s take a look at some of the critical elements of business analytics:
Data Mining: A helpful element of business analytics that includes several different techniques such as clustering, regression, and outlier detection. Data mining is the process of filtering through massive datasets to discover trends and patterns that would have been otherwise difficult to uncover using statistics, machine learning, and database systems.
Data Aggregation: Before you analyse the data, it must be collated, cleaned, centralised, and then filtered to remove any inaccuracy or redundancy. It is achieved through data aggregation, which involves gathering and collecting data and presenting it in a condensed format.
Text Mining: Text mining is the process of extracting raw data from app texts or the World Wide Web that can be subsequently used to develop new products, improve customer service and experience, and review market competitors’ performance.
Forecasting: As the name suggests, forecasting analyses data of a specific period or season to make informed predictions about future behaviours or events.
Data visualization: An absolute critical aspect of business analytics, data visualisation is all about providing visual representations in the form of graphs and charts for quick and easy data analysis. It is achieved through data visualisation software that helps track KPIs and business metrics in real-time to assess performance and goals better.
Career Scope of Business Analytics
Traditional business analytics relied on big, centrally-managed data warehouses or data servers that influenced strategic decision-making in many organisations. However, the conventional business analytics tools lacked powerful data visualisation means and data storage facilities.
But things have been changing recently; modern business analytics has become machine language-powered with platforms offering improved data comprehension and data visibility. Faster, smarter, and more automated technologies coupled with flexible development methods are helping to mitigate delays and allowing business analysts to pull data from heterogeneous data sources.
Today, business analytics is spread across all areas with a strong foothold in social media, consumer data, finance, sales, marketing, human resource, search engine optimisation, and eCommerce.
Furthermore, the business analytics market has shown remarkable growth in recent times. To put it in figures, the business analytics market had a valuation of USD 67.92 billion in 2020, and the numbers are expected to reach a whopping USD 103.65 billion by 2026 with a CAGR of 7.3% during the forecast period (2021-2026).
With key players like Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM dominating the market scene, the business analytics field will keep growing with a parallel hike in demand for skilled business analysts. In fact, the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts that there will be a 14% growth in the employment of business analysts during 2018-2028, a much higher rate than the average of all occupations.
The increasing reliance on digital tools and the heavy dependence of business analytics on technology makes a very secure career in business analytics, with ample growth opportunities. Moreover, the acute lack of talent and expertise in the field is driving companies to hire skilled professionals with high salaries to fill the different job roles in business analytics.
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Various Job Roles
Business analysts are the key individuals when it comes to managing company data. Regardless of the industry or organisation, every business analyst’s job profile demands versatility and a broad spectrum of skills. So, let’s take a look at the top job roles and titles business analytics has to offer:
1. Data Analyst
A data analyst is tasked with interpreting data and analysing results in response to a specific business problem that needs to be solved. The job profile of a data analyst includes data acquisition, database management, data interpretation and analysis using statistical methods and techniques, recognising patterns in complex data sets, filtering and cleaning data through regular reviews, identifying tools and techniques for process improvement, and reporting analytics. Read about data analyst salary in India.
2. Data Scientist
A data scientist uses many technologies such as Python, SAS, R, and SQL for qualitative data analysis. In a nutshell, a data scientist’s tasks include identifying data sources, automating data gathering processes, discovering patterns and trends in large data sets, pre-processing structured and unstructured data sets, building machine learning models and algorithms, identifying business challenges, proposing solutions to bottlenecks, and using data visualisation tools to present valuable insights.
3. Data Engineer
The primary responsibilities of a data engineer include the development and maintenance of architectures that align with business requirements, improving data quality, developing data acquisition processes, working with large data sets to solve business problems, identifying ways to endure data reliability and efficiency, deploying statistical and machine learning methods, performing prescriptive and predictive modelling, and engaging with stakeholders.
4. Data Architect
Data architects are one of the key individuals behind data management. They are responsible for developing database solutions, installing information systems and ensuring their functionality, designing flowcharts and data models, ensuring the structural requirements for new applications or software, optimising database systems, providing Management Information System (MIS) support, and improving the overall system performance through testing and troubleshooting.
5. Database Administrator
A database administrator’s job is critical, considering that they are responsible for supervising the proper functioning of databases and managing the backup and recovery of essential business data. The administrator’s job profile includes, among other things, building high-quality database systems, enabling the distribution of data to the right users, minimising database downtime with quick response to queries, documenting and enforcing database policies, and ensuring data security, integrity and privacy.
6. Analytics Manager
Overseeing all the above roles is the analytics manager responsible for aligning analytics strategies for successful data analysis and reporting. The manager sources, configures, and implements analytics solutions, leads the team of data analysts, collates reports from various sources, builds systems for effective data interpretation, analysis, and performance, and keeps track of the latest industry trends.
Business Analytics Salary Range
Now, let’s look at the average salaries of some of the most in-demand business analytics job roles in India.
|Job title||Average salary per annum|
|Data Analyst||INR 436,988|
|Data Scientist||INR 822,895|
|Data Engineer||INR 838,090|
|Data Architect||INR 1,967,406|
|Database Administrator||INR 497,749|
How To Become A Business Analyst?
If you are a fresher wanting to make a career in business analytics, make sure you have a Bachelor’s Degree in information systems, business, accounting, human resources, or any other relevant field. On the other hand, if you are already associated with the business or the IT field, you most likely possess many business analyst skills that can quickly transfer to a business analyst’s responsibilities.
Regardless of your educational and professional background, there are some critical skills that you need to possess to set yourself apart from the crowd.
1. Technical Skills
Technical skills are associated with the core responsibilities of a business analyst. If you are interested in a career in business analytics, make sure you master technical skills such as programming languages, data visualisation, data proficiency, and software development.
2. Soft Skills
While technical know-how is important for a business analyst job, soft skills are equally indispensable. Some of the essential soft skills that a business analyst must master include communication, presentation, critical thinking, and organisational skills. Read about the list of skills necessary to become a business analyst.
3. Business Analyst Certification
If you aim to enhance your professional development in the business analytics field, consider earning a professional certification. Executive Post-Graduate Programme in Business Analytics is the best choice if you want to learn how data and analytics can be leveraged to make better business decisions. Here’s a look at the course highlights:
- Fully online course of 11 months duration
- 300+ hours of learning with 100+ hours of live sessions, 8+ case studies and assignments, and four practical hands-on capstone projects
- Comprehensive coverage of essential business analytics tools, languages, and libraries
- Programme completion certificate from LIBA
- Regular doubt clearing sessions
- Mentorship sessions with industry experts
- Career support with hiring drives, job opportunities portal, and mock interviews
Generating truckloads of data is of no use unless it is gathered, analysed, and put to good use. Whether the business is big or small, the information collected from data analysis provides the foundation for introducing new products and services, tracking performance and sales, and making smart business decisions.
Business analysts play a critical link between the business and technology. Given the obvious benefits business analytics has on an organisation, its scope continuously expands with both large and small companies looking for qualified professionals with the right skillset.
A career in business analytics has bright prospects. Partner with upGrad today and begin a rewarding professional journey that awaits you in the field of business analytics.
What are the hard skills required to become a business analyst?
To become a business analyst, you need to have a deep understanding of statistical analysis and data visualisation. It is important to know how to use data analysis tools such as SQL as it helps in problem-solving. Besides this, learning how to prepare your dataset efficiently and accurately is also important. Also, though it is not always listed in a business analyst job description, it is always better to have a solid foundation in linear algebra and mathematics too.
How can I become a business analyst?
To become a business analyst, you need to learn core business analysis skills. Some of the most important ones include analysis, documentation, visual modelling and elicitation. Once you ace these fundamental skills, the next step would be to take business analysis training courses online. These courses usually teach an individual how to write compelling business cases, budgeting, problem solving and agile project management. Once you complete the course, you will earn a business analyst certification.
What is the difference between a data analyst and business analyst?
Though business analysts and data analysts work with data, what they do with it differs. A business analyst usually uses data to help organisations make effective business decisions while a data analyst is more engaged in gathering and analysing data for a business, and uses it to make important decisions.
Most business analysts work in the corporate world, and are essentially problem solvers. They research, organise and oversee the implementation of workflows. On the other hand, data analysts are mainly number-driven people. Since they excel in statistics and programming, they are usually the gatekeepers of business data.