What is Business Analytics and which tools are used for analysis?
Business Analytics has become a catch all word for any thing to do with data.
So if you are new to this field and don’t understand what people refer to as “Business Analytics”, don’t worry!
Even after spending more than 6 years in this industry, there are times when it is difficult for me to understand the work a person has done by reading his CV.
Here is how an excerpt from a typical JD might look like:
On one hand, this creates confusion in mind of person applying for a particular role. On the other hand, it leaves the selectors with a difficult role to understand and judge what a person has done in past.
Now, if I got this as description for one of the jobs I had applied to, I would be scared! Scared, not because I don’t know the subject, but because, these could mean anything. The work could refer to preparing basic reports at a junior level to performing multi-variate deep dives on various subjects.
Well, the first thing you should do is understand Business Analytics spectrum. Once you have understood it, ask which part of the spectrum, the role applies to and then decide whether it suits your skills or not.
Following is a good representation of this spectrum:
Let me explain each of these areas in a bit more detail.
The domain of Analytics starts from answering a simple question – What happened? This activity is typically known as reporting. These are typically the MIS which people want to receive first thing in the morning. It is a snapshot of what has happened. Following is an example of how a typical report might look like:
Majority of elementary reporting happens on MS Excel across the globe. More evolved Organizations might pull the data through databases using tools like SQL, MS Access or Oracle. But typically, the dissemination of reports happens through Excel.
Detective Analysis starts where reporting ends. You start looking for reasons for unexpected changes. Typical problems you work on are “Why did the Sales drop in last 2 months?” or “Why did the latest campaign under-perform or over-perform?”. In order to find out answers to these questions, you look at past trends or you look at distribution changes to find out the reasons for the changes. However, all of this is backward looking.