The Key Skills You Need To Succeed In Business Analytics
by Arnab Dey Business Development 18 August 2022
Many businesses and analytics professionals use data to solve problems and make decisions in the modern world. The growth of big data means there is more information available to companies, so the need for professionals with good analytical skills has also grown.
More importantly, business analytics professionals should not just be number crunchers. Instead, they are strategists who can understand reliable data sources and how to make critical business decisions based on the information at hand.
A degree in business analytics can help you turn your passion for data into an exciting career. However, it is important to remember that your education does not end with completing your degree.
You will need to keep learning and honing your skills throughout your career to achieve success in the field. In this article, we look in depth at how you can develop your analytical and strategic business intelligence skills to start your career today.
What Is Business Analytics?
Business analytics is the practice of using data to make better business decisions. It involves taking data from various sources, such as financial reports and customer surveys, and analyzing it to see what trends emerge.
Businesses can then use this information to improve marketing campaigns or product development, and as a result, they can better meet their customers’ needs while reducing costs.
Four Types Of Business Analytics And How They Can Help A Business:
Measuring analytics is not enough to truly understand a business’s performance. You need to dig into the data and extract real value from it.
There are four types of analytics, and each one can provide different insights about a business that can be used to improve its performance.
Let us look at the four types of analytics, their purposes, and some examples of how you can apply them to your business:
1. Descriptive analytics
Descriptive analytics gives the business a snapshot of what is happening at any given time. This type of analytics often reports trends, behavior changes over time, and other fluctuations in the business environment.
Examples include site traffic, conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, social media engagement, and website traffic trends.
These data points help marketers determine where to allocate resources for maximum return on investment (ROI). For example, if your marketing campaign is losing traction or performing poorly, it is better to spend that money elsewhere.
2. Diagnostic analytics
Diagnostic analytics examines past events and processes to determine the best way to move forward. Businesses often use diagnostic analytics to analyze what has gone wrong, why it is happening, and how to fix it.
In marketing, this type of analysis can help you understand why your current marketing efforts are not working. For example, if you notice that a particular item is out of stock more often than other items, this may be because customers more frequently order it.
You can then take action to ensure that this item remains in stock more often so that customers do not need to come back due to a lack of availability.
3. Predictive analytics
Predictive analytics focuses on forecasting future behavior. Companies use predictive analytics to predict the probability of certain events happening in the future.
If a business owner wants to know what they can do to increase revenue, for example, they could consult predictive analytics. The tool would tell them the probabilities of increased revenue given different actions.
From there, it would be up to the business owner to decide which course of action makes the most sense for their particular needs.
4. Prescriptive analytics
Prescriptive analytics mainly focuses on deciding on the actions needed after realizing an issue in the business. It gives information on how to make the best decision possible, by weighing the pros and cons.
For instance, if your business needs more customers, it can provide information on how to increase customer traffic through a marketing campaign. Prescriptive analytics helps make strategic decisions that affect your bottom line, such as hiring more staff or purchasing new equipment.
Developing Business Analytics Skills
To have a successful career in business analytics, you need to develop strong analytical skills. This means being able to understand and interpret data, as well as identify trends and patterns.
You should take mathematics or statistics courses to become familiar with the different calculations used to analyze information. For instance, an online master’s in business analytics teaches students subjects like modeling, forecasting, database design, and statistical inference.
These classes give them a foundation in quantitative methods and operations research, which they can use to work with large volumes of structured and unstructured data.
You might not require an MBA for entry-level positions in this field, however, if you want to
advance your career, consider this route to learn how businesses operate strategically.
Top 12 Key Skills You Need To Succeed In Business Analytics
Business analytics skills are in high demand as businesses gain more understanding of how valuable they can be to their operations. If you are looking to get into business analytics, here are the essential skills needed to succeed in the field:
Communicating concisely and accurately is critical in business analytics. After all, you will be working with data and numbers that can be difficult to interpret.
For instance, it may take an analyst a short time to run an algorithm on a spreadsheet. However, it may take the end user an hour or more to understand the results, because they do not have any background in this field.
Analysts must therefore ensure they know how to adequately convey their findings so that those unfamiliar with data can clearly understand the information.
They also need to trust your decisions if the stakes are high. In addition, communicating your findings and recommendations to management will also require an effective delivery of information.
As a data analytics professional, you will work with large datasets of information to identify trends. For this reason, data analysis is one of the most crucial skills you need to succeed in a career in business analytics.
In order to analyze data successfully, you need to detect patterns and understand them. Data analysis skills will ensure that you can stay ahead of changes in your industry by noticing potential disruptions as early as possible.
For example, when analyzing customer purchases, you may notice that customers who bought an electronic device are more likely to buy a laptop bag. By understanding this pattern, the company can target ads for these items together, or offer discounts on both entities simultaneously.
On a day-to-day basis, businesses encounter numerous problems that need to be solved. Challenges such as the changing cost of a component of the company will always exist.
As someone interested in this career path, you should have several problem-solving skills, including:
- The ability to assess what data is needed and how best to use it.
- The ability to identify how long a problem might take and plan accordingly.
- Finding solutions by understanding what actions will lead towards the desired outcome.
- The ability to make decisions based on probability.
You can gain problem-solving skills through exposure to challenging situations and formal education programs. These skills allow you to quickly and thoroughly assess any problem, so you do not waste time on fruitless efforts.
Not only do these skills provide knowledge about possible solutions, but they also provide information about how much time each solution would require.
Critical thinking refers to the ability to think rationally and logically about things. It is essential for success in business analytics because so much of the work involves making judgments and decisions about data.
For example, it might be necessary to analyze data related to different products and decide which one should be discontinued based on cost or customer demand. An analyst should reason through such a situation and make an educated decision.
You also need critical thinking skills when encountering obstacles that prevent you from completing your work. If you cannot get past a certain point in your analysis, you need to figure out why this is the case, and how to overcome the problem.
Sometimes the answer may be as simple as searching for more information. Other times, it may require developing a new strategy to solve the issue. In any case, critical thinking skills are vital in determining what actions you need to take next.
A career in data analytics is a highly collaborative one. Data analysts often work with teams of people, including other data analysts, statisticians, and programmers.
They are involved in the entire process, from analyzing data to making recommendations. An analyst may identify an anomaly within the data, but it is up to another team member to figure out what that means and how they can fix it.
It is essential to collaborate effectively with others in order to succeed in a career in business analytics. Collaboration includes communicating clearly, listening attentively, and working well as part of a team — these skills ensure you can work well with others to complete the job efficiently.
Additionally, it is helpful to compromise and empathize with others. These skills will help you build strong relationships with your colleagues and clients, which is essential for success in business analytics.
Data visualization involves creating graphs, charts, maps, diagrams, and other pictorial data representations. The process entails deciding what data to present in the form of annotations, on what scale, and in which contexts.
You can achieve effective data visualization by showing different types of information separately or overlaying one another for comparison. This representation is what you may come across as an infographic.
Data visualization can be used in data analytics when representing complex data sets. For example, you can use it to create scatter plots showing the relationship between two variables over a set period.
Taking data and presenting it in a way that is easy for people to understand is critical in business analytics. The ability to tell a story with data can be the difference between someone understanding you and getting lost in the numbers.
A data analytics professional must be able to look at the world from many different perspectives. The more you can do this, the better decisions you will be able to make about a business and how it operates.
Being open-minded means accepting new ideas and perspectives, even if they challenge your beliefs. It can be difficult to let go of what you know, but it is essential if you want to grow and succeed in this field.
As an analyst, you must also be mindful of your social surroundings and cultural norms to successfully work with people from all backgrounds. You should be flexible enough to change gears and adapt to new situations without being rigid or stubborn.
In any profession, it is crucial to effectively manage your time. For instance, you may have strong analytical skills, but if you cannot manage time effectively, you will not get the most out of those skills.
You must have good time management skills for your personal and professional life. Your ability to plan will allow you more control over your time and how you spend it.
Being able to manage your time efficiently will also help you to avoid burnout.
Here are some tips for improving your time management skills:
- Set realistic goals and deadlines for yourself and write them down.
- Make a list of all the tasks you need to complete and prioritize them according to importance.
- Break up large tasks into smaller ones and schedule when you will do each one.
- Track how much time you spend working on each task to determine which ones take up more of your time than others and adjust accordingly.
That way, you can deal with unforeseen obstacles quickly, so they do not interfere with other duties.
To succeed in business analytics, you need to be both detail-oriented and able to see the big picture. That means being able to understand and analyze data but also see how that data fits into the larger context of the business.
For example, suppose an organization is trying to improve its customer service process. In that instance, they might want someone who can identify what could go wrong and propose ways to fix it.
A detail-oriented person will have the patience to scrutinize every process element. In contrast, someone with good intuition will have the perspective to know where there are potential problems.
Those two skills together mean more accurate predictions about what is happening in real-time and better solutions for getting out of trouble.
Data analytics deals with software like Hadoop, R, SAS, and Microsoft Excel. For this reason, you must be able to develop programs for these software applications.
A background in coding languages like Java or Python will be an asset for this field of work. Software development skills include being able to code, develop algorithms and create data visualizations. You will have to be proficient with software and various programming languages.
Negotiation is critical in business analytics, whether working with clients, vendors, or colleagues. There are many situations where negotiation skills will come into play.
For example, when negotiating pricing with a vendor. You should use your market knowledge and compare the vendor’s price to see if they are charging too much.
Negotiation skills will also be needed when interacting with other analysts, such as when trying to get them to share data or analysis. It may not always be easy, but staying calm and using logic rather than emotion will go a long way toward resolving these types of issues.
Making quick and efficient decisions is one of the most critical skills in business analytics. After all, data is constantly changing, and you need to be able to adapt on the fly.
Neither option is perfect, but each has its advantages and disadvantages. You need to consider these points when making your decision so that you can offer your best solution.
Additionally, you need to anticipate any potential consequences that may result from the decision, whether good or bad.
For instance, there will be times when you face difficult choices between two options. To help make this choice easier, try to understand which option will benefit your organization more financially, strategically, or ethically.
A career in business analytics can be enriching financially and professionally. However, it is vital to have the right skill set to be successful. It is also important to remember that these skills require a combination of hard work and natural talent. If you have these qualities or are willing to learn them, you are well on your way to success as a business analyst.