Choosing the Best School for Business Analytics

Find out what you need to consider when choosing a business analytics school.

Today’s up-to-the-minute IT environment produces huge volumes of statistics also known in the modern era as “Big Data.” This normally comes from business transactions and social interactions. The quantity of information grows rapidly because of mobile computing and innovation associated with digital technology. As a result, the business sector will need more competent analysts to ensure efficiency and proper evaluation of this data.

Choosing the Best School for Business Analytics

The Master of Science in Business Analytics degree serves as solid foundation in data analytics. It combines the fields of applied mathematics and statistics; computer science; consumer behavior, risk management, operations research and decision-making theories. BA students can utilize this training to solve real-life issues in the areas of accounting, finance and marketing. Likewise, it develops intense quantitative capabilities and technical know-how in generating business and social values.

Focus on Big Data

Cutting-edge academic programs are slowly becoming more popular in many colleges and universities across the country. You can find schools that offer data-driven curriculum knowing that many corporate entities employ analytics as growth strategy globally.

Schools with business analytics programs must focus on the data-based approach considering that it has a vital role in development of business strategies. It should reinforce the learner’s analytical abilities. The course educates students about techniques of using large data prospects. Students will also find out the essence of marketing analytics, supply chains and restructuring corporations through information platforms.

As a rule, what should be your criteria in choosing business analytics schools?

The school should have a core curriculum and proficient faculty members that will teach students the following:

  • Learn how to implement analytics competence in a business organization.
  • Build up this aptitude to augment the company’s analytics program.
  • Determine how big data can influence various functions including the manufacturing and marketing processes.
  • Understand the importance of business analytics with regards to the information technology sector.

Data Gap

Business Analytics

It is a well-known fact that there is a considerable data talent disparity. The question is what is the academic community doing about this? In the first place, education and experience are the pressing needs. This is what schools should address immediately. There are probably hundreds of colleges/universities across the country preparing for business analytics and pertinent programs directed towards examination of data in a business framework.

Data growth is proceeding towards a single direction. That is why it is clear that this talent gap is a long-term concern. The reality is most businesses cannot wait long for this to materialize. Given this situation, there is a big opportunity for qualified information management specialists and data-savvy information technology graduates to plug the dearth of talent.

Points to Consider

Make sure that the college or university you choose will provide the expertise you need. Likewise, the program should fit into your schedule.

MastersInDataScience.org also tells students to ask the following questions:

“Can you work it into your schedule?

Although plenty of universities now offer a blend of evening, weekend and online classes, many of the programs mentioned here still require you to be present in class to complete your master’s degree.

Are there internships or real-world practicum?

Unless you’re on your way to a doctorate, this is going to be one of the most important investments in your career. Look for programs that connect you to industries and opportunities.

Will it get you the job?

The proof is in the numbers. If you cannot find it on the program’s website, ask about the percentage of graduates who have received employment offers or promotions.”

Competent BA Specialists

The truth is many academic institutions have prepared for business analytics realizing that there is a large need for competent analytics specialists as well as data professionals to fill in the talent shortage. These programs are intended for students with undergraduate degrees and more than three years of work experience. Many schools also offer part-time courses that permit students to study and work at the same time.

Degrees in Business Analytics have come of age. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for data scientists and analysts are seen as increasing until 2020. Potential students must look for learning facilities that offer Business Analytics that have quantitative elements that include science, technology, mathematics, and engineering. Master’s degrees can augment chances of young learners to get a lucrative job in this discipline.

Studies related to the higher education system in the country revealed that 15 new programs were created during the past three years. All these concentrate on the field of business analytics. One such program is the Master’s of Science in Business Analytics. Even as MSBA used to be offered by only a few universities, several curriculums are now focusing on experiential learning. Students are exposed to actual scenarios in the business world for the purpose of gaining real-life know-how.

Look at the core syllabus being offered. It should consider skills that corporations need. Certain MBA programs offer specialized disciplines in information systems management that will be supportive of business analytics.

Potential students should look at this aspect before enrolling in any school that offers the Master’s Degree in Business Analytics.

Master’s Degrees in Business Analytics

The MS in BA has been designed to help students discover opportunities in big data and apply said findings in real-world business scenarios. Data analysts supply enterprises with concepts and theories for clever strategic management, enhanced financial implementation and superior operational efficiencies.

According to MastersInDataScience.org,

MSBA degrees usually take one to two years to complete. You will be required to take a variety of core courses in data analytics and business (such as financial accounting), as well as electives in a specific field of interest. Many programs include a capstone project or practicum.”

The usual courses include:

  • Business data analytics
  • Operations research
  • Project management
  • Database analysis
  • Predictive analytics

Students can verify with their preferred school for detailed admission requirements. There are undergraduate degrees in business, economics, engineering, computer science, mathematics, or statistics.

Based on information provided in Tech Web News, here are some schools with candidates already possessing undergraduate degrees. Incidentally, part-time alternatives are available so working students can pursue higher education.

Source: Information Week

Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts

Degree: Master of Science in Marketing Analytics

School: Graduate School of Business

Description: “Strategic marketing and training in making marketing decisions based on quantitative analysis. Program enables students to make informed marketing decisions based on relevant data and to demonstrate the financial impact of those decisions.”

Prerequisites: Undergraduate degree and GMAT or GRE examination results. Students may be required to take up five foundation courses that include accounting, economics, finance, marketing, and statistics. Students can be exempted from this prerequisite if they finished an equivalent course during the last five years from an accredited institution and earned grade equivalent of B or higher.

Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Degree: Master of Information Systems Management focusing on Business Intelligence and Data Analytics.

School: Heinz College (Public Policy & Information Systems)

Description: “Blended business-technology program designed to foster better planning, management and technical abilities. The concentration in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics is designed for cross-training in business process analysis, predictive models, GIS mapping, analytical reporting, segmentation analysis, and data visualization.”

Prerequisites: Successful graduates are capable of creating complex quantitative and qualitative concepts. Candidates can have undergraduate background that includes engineering, information systems and physics. All students are required to complete a college-level, object-oriented programming course prior to beginning classes at Heinz College.

Full-time programs:  One year for Master of Information Systems Management and 16 months for students pursuing Business Intelligence and Data Analytics.

Columbia University in New York, New York

Degree: Masters of Science in Computer Science (Machine Learning)

School:  Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science

Description: The Department of Computer Science department offers the program in eight disciplines. These are:  “Computational Biology; Computer Security; Foundations of Computer Science; Machine Learning; Natural Language Processing; Network Systems; Software Systems and Vision; and, Graphics. The Machine Learning concentration covers techniques and applications in areas such as bioinformatics, fraud detection, intelligent systems, perception, finance, and information retrieval.”

Prerequisites: Undergraduate degree in computer science or related discipline with minimum GPA of 3.3 or higher. Individuals with undergraduate degrees in different fields must finish a minimum of four computer science courses (basic programming) as well as two mathematics modules.

DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois

Degree: Master of Science in Predictive Analytics

School: College of Computing and Digital Media

Description: Graduates learn multiple skills required for careers in predictive analytics. This includes evaluating big data sets and developing modeling solutions for decision support. “Students also gain a good understanding of the fundamental principles of marketing and customer relationship management along with communication skills to present results to a non-technical business audience. They can pursue concentrations in computational methods or marketing.”

Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree with minimum of 3.0 Grade Point Average and professional experience is a big plus.

Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Degree: Master of Science in Business Analytics

School: Le Bow College of Business

Description: It explores quantitative methods and relationships using data analysis, as well as utilizes data to address issues in the business. Students learn how to influence decision-making, strategy and operations with fact-based insights and business performance analysis. The degree focuses on statistical assessment, quantitative analysis and predictive modeling. Courses focus on statistics, operations research, mathematical modeling and management information systems.

Prerequisites: “Candidates are evaluated based on graduate test scores, undergraduate GPA and work experience. Work experience is preferred but not mandatory. GMAT is required with scores demonstrating a high-level of quantitative and analytical abilities.”

Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Degree: Masters of Science in Computational Science and Engineering

School: School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Description: “This is a one-year program developed in 2010 by Harvard’s Institute for Applied Computational Science. It provides mathematical and computing foundations complemented by independent research projects and elective courses. Graduates will master mathematical techniques for modeling and simulation of complex systems; parallel programming; collaborative software development; efficient methods for organizing, exploring, visualizing, processing; and analyzing very large data sets.”

Prerequisites: Undergraduate degree in natural sciences, mathematics or engineering. Graduate Record Examination is mandatory.

Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Degree: Master of Science in Analytics

Description: This is designed to meet demands for professionals who comprehend big data and possess analytics skills to obtain information from huge and complex data sets. The syllabus puts emphasis on modern data management tools and applied statistical and operations research techniques. These will enable the analyst to look at real-world data sets to “increase return on investment, improve customer retention, reduce fraud and improve decision making. Students receive training in SAS, SQL, and other tools. Student teams work with companies and government organizations to solve business problems in areas such as insurance, banking, health care, communications, e-commerce, law enforcement and marketing.”

Prerequisites: Undergraduate degree with 3.0+ GPA, GMAT or GRE scores. Chances of acceptance are better for candidates with relevant undergraduate degrees in “engineering, computer science, management, science, operations research, production/operations management, economics, statistics, mathematics or industrial/organizational psychology.”

Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Degree: Master of Business Administration

School: MIT Sloan School of Management

Description: Curriculum and degree requirements promote choice and experimentation. Students learn how to formulate a personalized course of study after the collective first semester foundation. Students are given an MBA degree or Master of Science in Management upon completion of the assigned thesis. Specialized modules are offered in Finance, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Enterprise Management and Sustainability.

Prerequisites: “There should be proven academic excellence and achievement as reflected in test scores, academic records and personal recommendations. Work experience is not required, but those who have it generally get more out of the program, according to admission guidelines. College graduates from all areas of concentration are accepted, but applicants may be required to take courses in microeconomics, calculus or financial accounting before starting studies in Masters in Business Administration.”

Top Business Analytics Degree Programs

Are you interested in a career as a business analyst? There are now numerous academic institutions that offer business analytics degree programs.

The cost of tuition fees continue to increase while employment after graduation is not an easy goal to achieve. This is why college students and parents are keeping an eye on possible degrees that offer the best returns for investing on education. Clever educators are working hard to modify courses that can be a hit in the employment market. What is one of the latest developments in contemporary education?

“Big Data” has turned into a catchword. Advanced degrees in business analytics are fast becoming popular in various colleges and universities across the nation. Academic institutions are now offering data-driven syllabus to students. Schools have come to realize that many corporations worldwide are making use of analytics as a strategy for growth. Successful firms have achieved this because of the more recent technical modernization. Moreover, data explosion is like an epidemic. Real-time data comes from mobile gadgets, social networking, data sensors and multiple sources.

Expectations from BA Programs

Data-based schemes have a crucial role in formulation of business strategies. The program in business analytics is meant to strengthen analytical capabilities. It aims to teach students the techniques of harnessing big data potentials. Analytics will help you make informed decisions at all levels of the company. You will also discover the importance of supply chains, marketing analytics and restructuring the company by way of information platforms.

You have to delve into the balance between analytical and non-analytical flair. Graduates will come out more equipped in making decisions that can produce competitive advantage for organizations that they will possibly be working for. It is supposed to take your skills to a higher plane.

Interaction with faculty and colleagues will help you achieve the following:

  • Determine and carry on analytics competence within the company.
  • Build up the competence that you need to enhance your organization’s analytics.
  • Figure out how big data can impinge on different functions which include marketing and the manufacturing process.
  • Understand the value of this discipline in relation to the IT industry.

The program tackles a wide variety of issues essential to information management. Some of these are:

  • Realize the competition in analytics.
  • Compare big data assessment with the conventional small data methods.
  • Reform industries and corporations using information systems.
  • Utilize the capacity of unstructured data innovation.

Thousands of academic institutions globally are priming up for business analytics and related programs focusing on data analysis in a business milieu.

Growth of information is headed towards a single path. It is evident that skills deficiency may be a long-term issue. There is a big need for qualified information management specialists and data experts to plug the talent dearth. Such programs are meant for individuals with undergraduate degrees and preferably with three or more years of working experience. There are part-time classes which allow students to continue working while learning more about big data analytics. Said programs may not be an assurance that you will be asked to be involved in a significant big data research endeavor. However, graduates of these degrees especially from prominent institutions indicate that top employers will be after you.

Emergence of Business Analytics Degrees

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Business analytics came out as one of the fastest-growing jobs last year especially in the Fortune 100 corporations.
According to the Harvard Business Review, “the position of business analyst or data scientist is the sexiest job of the 21st century.” As a matter of fact, employment for business analysts is projected to surge by 22 percent until 2020 based on figures released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The growth of our technologies has exceeded our supply of qualified talent. 90 percent of the world’s data today has been generated in the last two years, and we can’t keep up with demand. According to a recent McKinsey & Company big data report, by 2018, the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 professionals with deep analytical skills, as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions.” (Source: Harvard Business Review)

Academic institutions are now offering BA programs with quantitative components such as engineering, mathematics, science, and technology. Master’s degrees bolster the chances of students to obtain a job in this field. A consulting company for higher education disclosed that during the last three years, there were 15 new master’s programs which focused on data analytics. One degree is the Master of Science in Business Analytics which used to be made available only by a small number of universities.

Today several programs concentrate on experiential erudition. Students deal with real-world business problems to acquire actual experience. In most cases, the core syllabus is frequently conceptualized considering the skills that business organizations companies need primarily in this area. Under these courses, zero up to a maximum of only two years (work experience) is required. Some MBA degrees offer specialty fields in information systems management which can complement business analytics. Part-time MBA programs are designed for students who want to continue working. Actually, some big companies even shoulder tuition and fees of outstanding employees to enroll in said programs.

Suggested BA Programs

Many universities and colleges offer new business analytics programs which are inter-disciplinary degrees backed by prominent business schools. In some instances, it could be a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree with specialization in analytics and information management. For some, it may be a program that can be completed in only one year or even less. Some institutions have created more business-related and big data-oriented courses.

The degree programs are categorized into four groups:

  • MS in Analytics (Master’s of Science) was developed around 2007. It belongs to a new grouping anchored on formidable inter-disciplinary character that brings together practical mathematics/ statistics, computer science and a mixture of business disciplines. The MSA may be operated separately as a university-wide alliance or by and large in Colleges of Sciences and Engineering for full-time programs. Part-time or distance learning modules are usually available in institutes of continuing learning. The degree title is sometimes called “predictive analytics” or “data analytics.” Yet, these degrees encompass practically the same domain.
  • MS in Data Science is similar to MSA. The syllabus is almost the same for both. It is also given the title of Master’s in Information and Data Science or Master’s in Data Science and Engineering.
  • MS in Business Analytics can be entirely new or an old degree that you can find in business colleges or universities. It is just like the MSA but the curriculum is less technical. However, the tuition is generally more expensive.

Choosing Business Analytics Schools

What criteria should you follow in choosing a college or university that offer the business analytics program? It is important to take into consideration both accreditation and time commitment.

As much as possible, opt for schools that have been accredited by the International Institute of Business Analysis. The IIBA is the principal organization which issues credentials such as the Certified Business Analyst Professional certification. Even as this accreditation is elective or non compulsory, it is interpreted by employers as proof of high reading of aptitude.
Potential BA students ought to settle on mandatory time commitment and decide on the course that will be relevant to targets and learning prerequisites. This should be the case because delivery of programs varies among educational institutions. Meanwhile, some undergraduate programs for information technology and business administration have also added business analyst subjects in their curriculum.

BA Program Overviews

business analytics

Certificate Programs for Business Analytics educate students regarding the right methodology in gathering and documenting business process requirements of a corporation. You will learn how to formulate practical system design solutions which will be implemented by information technology development staff. Some of the subjects consist of Project Management, Planning Techniques, Principles of Business Process Management, and Technical Communication Skills.

There are no bachelor degrees created exclusively for business analysts. However, several programs provide theoretical foundation needed by students to thrive in said field. Business analysts have the prerogative to take up any major in business administration, finance or information technology. A number of schools have specializations in project management or business analysis included in majors. The courses prepare graduates in performing liaison work between business and technology departments. Among the possible subjects are Project Management, Finance, Communications Skills, and Information Systems Integration.

Analytics degrees make use of tools in quantitative as well as statistical interpretation with huge data groups and analysis of findings. These are terminologies which are frequently used in different business schools within the country. Programs in Data Science put weight on technical knowledge related to the management of massive data bases. However, there is not much importance on interpretation and assessment of data.

University faculty members respond to the evolving business requirements and movements in technologies that support decision-making with modified and pioneering academic programs. These are more of a response to ever-increasing amounts of data available in organizations and management’s preference to evaluate data and use this as a component of business operations. Analytics and data science are used to describe new masters degrees and graduate certificate programs.

Some universities offer programs consisting of 31.5 credit hours which can be completed in a full calendar year or three successive semesters on a full time basis. The first semester has an anchor class in Business Analytics during the initial semester. The course topic includes strategic use of data management, business analytics and importance of these tools. Among the courses are management of information systems projects, enormous databases and communication of analytics results.

The second semester concentrates on applied statistics along with aggregation and review of marketing data collection and analysis. Likewise, there is a subject in statistical problems that entails data study. The last semester has a technical subject in discovery of knowledge, data mining procedures and tools. One topic covers big data and data markets with one project assignment. This is a course on predictive data analysis plus another 1.5 credit course entitled “Ethics and Intellectual Property Issues.”

Online Training Materials for Bas

It is not necessary to splurge or spend a lot of money to finish business analytics. In fact, there are many training materials online that you can download free of charge. This is a big help for beginners.

  • The Smart BA hosts multiple training collaterals in Business Analysis. One module covers process and data models as well as functional analysis.
  • Bridging the Gap is a free eight-lesson email module in business analytics. It focuses mainly on the role of the business analyst, skills or certifications, and useful materials that can assist you in getting started.
  • Business Analysis Experts is a portal that provides free training in business analytics. There are videos (five to nine minutes each) that make up one topic in analytics. You can also download free eBooks and a self-paced course in e-learning for business analysts.
  • The Business Analyst Mentor is a course entitled, “The Insider’s Guide to Core Techniques for Successful Business Analysis.” The course gives a general idea of best practices in Business Analytics, case models and proto-typing.

Conclusion

In case you want to become trained and finish a course in business analytics, it is important to determine your needs, identify tour background and set your sights on targets. You need to know what you want to achieve as a business analyst. Remember that it is a must to control analytics in the daily workflow. Likewise, pinpoint the skills gaps such as technical, marketing and communicating with other professionals. Among the key proficiencies in analytics utilized by data scientists are SQL which is the capacity to obtain data from numerous sources and bring these together for analysis. At the same time, you must be capable of working efficiently with stakeholders in the business. If you believe that by this time you are prepared to leverage data for making intelligent decisions, it is high time to switch your career to the world of business analytics.

How Business Analytics Helps Businesses Grow

Learn about how businesses, large and small, can benefit from business analytics.

Modern business organizations are making use of highly developed business analytics techniques and technologies to deal with massive amounts of data. It helps them set up a reasonable advantage by obtaining the proper information at the best time. Use this to your advantage. This will surely become a successful business strategy. Correct data administration can provide insights to an entrepreneurial boom. Business proprietors, corporate managers and entrepreneurs must strive to become analytical. Understand your customers and make the proper decisions. Business goals should be more expansive and strategic. Meanwhile, try to optimize your prospective courses of action. Companies need to pursue business analytics.

Usefulness of Business Analytics

Most business owners ask the following question: Why is business analytics functional for a company?

To begin with, analytics is composed of highly developed artificial intelligence and techniques in statistics that ensure valid insight in connection with company data. Considering that the quality and size are good enough, it is possible to mine for information that may not be available through any other means. Data can unearth numerous customers and the company knows which ones should be targeted.

Then, remember that the data size is too big. The algorithms were built to put together human intelligence and computer technology.
Lastly, cost of BA should also be considered carefully. This includes the money and time required to finish the job; evaluation of qualitative analysis involved in producing with the data on hand and business profits; and, reasonable costing.

An effective analysis should generate a model that may be utilized for an indefinite period and deliver endless returns to scale.

Proper Approach

Corporations must adopt a meaningful approach in analytics. A strategic plan must be about looking for the right opportunities for business development, innovation, delineation, and impact in the market. Formulation of strategies should integrate an understanding of analytics. You should be detailed regarding analytical targets. It may be necessary to discover more analytical opportunities.
It has been said that successful enterprises make it a point to practice analytics in various fields especially marketing and forecasting. Two major approaches in business analytics are the following:

  • Engage in macro-thinking for your business and trends that affect it as well as demographic shifts, market trends and customer preferences. This involves assessment of performances for potential areas of improvement along with factors that propel performance. This also calls for exploring your intuitions about the business, what makes the product or service click, and possible advances.
  • Conduct an organized inventory of primary business processes. This includes the methods for decision-making and actual business decisions which can benefit from business analytics.

Big-Picture Thinking

Business group portrait

There are several tools that you can use for big-picture thinking in connection with your business. There are performance drivers and corresponding opportunities for segregation. Use tools in analytics that the organization is comfortable with. Said conduits can analyze core processes one way or another to discover how activities contribute to overall business results. Possible targets for business analytics differ according to industry dynamics. It also depends on how companies put values in the market.

So-called value chain businesses may prefer to concentrate on issues such as supply and demand variability, asset costs, adaptability of operations, and interaction with others within the supply chain. Value-based analysis has two valuable functions. It assists you in concentrating on primary business goals as well as ways that analytics can help. At the same time, it recommends venues that you can find outside the industry for novel examples of analytical applications. You can try other industries with the same type of value that you advocate. Appropriate models include institutions with parallel business problems but in different frameworks. Their analytical applications are easier to recognize. These are also relevant and not difficult to transfer.

It is possible to find analytical opportunities by reviewing your business decisions regardless of connection with clear business processes. Find out how information and analysis can produce better results. These are some of the conditions to search for:

  • These are complicated decisions with many variables and stages.
  • Simple decisions where constancy is needed or mandated by law like unbiased credit and lending.
  • Places where you should optimize the process or activity entirely particularly in the local scene.
  • Decisions that entail understanding the significance of connections and relationships.
  • Places where there should be better projections.

Driving Demand

Aside from Big Data, there are significant biggest technology developments together with needs of modern customers up to the next five years. These drive the requirements for business analytics. Trends in mobile, agility, cloud, social collaboration, integrations, and in-memory are important.

Mobile:

Proper tools should be available. However, these should not be limited to browsers connected to servers and accessible through desktop computers. It should be more of a mobile experience in tablets and smart phones. Content providers must be more accessible globally in all devices. Users prefer customizing experiences in mobile analytics experience. What is the meaning of all these? People would like analytics and intelligence if necessary.

Collaboration and Social Data

Would it not be great for you if there can be mutual work groups and discussion forums similar to the one featured in Facebook? Imagine if these can be incorporated to your Business Intelligence system. This is considered phenomenal for jobs in customer service and support facilities. Everybody can work online rather than try to locate 20 employees from various departments to address a customer issue. A single group can have access to all applicable information required for a specific task.

Cloud

Corporate organizations are looking for solutions hosted on cloud for complete flexibility with regards to deployment. This increases the use of part or all solutions at a speed that the customer desires. Cloud has emerged as a choice that must be available for all degrees of operation while existing with on-premise platforms. The boundary between on-premise and on-demand is fading as cloud services likes in-memory apps integrate with current business intelligence use.

Computing

Computing (in-memory) maintains a considerable influence on business analytics. A lot of enterprises employ business analytics solutions. These are designed for creating reports, inquiries and dashboards on multiple data sources. It ranges from SAP Enterprise Resource Planning to generic databases which include Oracle, SQL programming server and DB2 database software. The convolution of said data sources makes it relatively demanding to optimize solution performance.

Companies can facilitate real-time analytics scenario where users will go through a significant improvement in their capacity to observe and explore information. This can be done by transferring information from several incongruent sources into a single database (in-memory). Consider the effect of providing an extra 10 minutes of productivity back daily to an organization with 100,000 workers. This translates to 1million minutes of added work capacity produced each day.

Software Tools

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Software tools make available enhanced customer insights. These implements can also offer crucial analysis to guide business owners in making decisions. As big data turns out to be more prevalent, the price of software also becomes more reasonable. On the other hand, the usage of Big Data is gradually increasing. Even small and medium enterprises are gaining access to enormous data that was once limited to industry major players. For instance, only 1.7 percent of small companies used business intelligence software in 2010. This number has already increased to 9.2 percent in 2013.

This is called by many as an intelligence explosion although it still remains in the early stages as far as the business intelligence software sector is concerned. As software tools continue to become more efficient in terms of intellectual tasks, the programs can start to surpass human beings. Indeed, this is another opportunity for profit and new business growth. The use of software can help employers to bring down operational costs as well as incidence of human error. The growth of information leads to more clever business decisions in real time.

Fortune 500 corporations are now starting to develop their own business intelligence software or hiring experts to perform said tasks. These are used to create new jobs, industries, and better approaches to business. In fact, the current projection is that cloud-based applications and business intelligence will inflate to $95 billion in 2015.

According to IBM, cloud, analytics, mobile, and social apps have three clear-cut impacts on small and middle enterprises:

  • These transform unique ideas to actual merchandise or service promptly by eliminating large outright capital investments in terms of technology and manpower.
  • These enable entrepreneurs to scale up or down fast in responding to evolving client demands.

These take away geographic limitations and open up new markets that were not accessible in the past.

The number of small businesses utilizing intelligence software and is expected to continue growing rapidly

Enterprise Resource Planning

Enterprise resource planning has become a buzzword in the IT sector. ERP refers to the business management software that enables corporate organizations to utilize integrated applications system. It automates back office functions associated with technology, services and human resources. The software also incorporates different aspects of an operation which cover product planning and development, manufacturing/production, marketing and sales.

What are the expectations?

  • There should be complete integration capability. The software must integrate multiple systems such as financial and marketing. Time and valuable resources should not be wasted on integration. They can input data and use this in different places. Besides, the process of systems upgrading needs to be simple.
  • Using SAP or Oracle ERP makes business operations more efficient which are essential in a fast changing and highly-competitive atmosphere. In an enterprise, change is not only a possibility or probability. It is inevitable. This covers extreme levels of customer service, production, reduction of costs, and stock turnover. More than these, the software should provide impetus for effective supply chain management and electronic commerce.
  • The ERP has to provide a distinct format of sales statistics instead of having separate figures for marketing, finance and administration. Enterprise resource planning also regulates production or manufacturing procedures. There are plus points for businesses that standardize methodologies and make use of a single computer system. CEOs want their respective companies to save time, boost productivity, productive collaboration, and schedule production across multiple production units and work sites.
  • This program should also systematize HR information which is very beneficial for multi-site companies. An amalgamated method for monitoring employee time and conveying benefits is particularly useful. This advocates a sense of equality among the employees and streamlines the company as well.
  • The concept of Enterprise Resource Planning’s integration is to combine systems and resources in enterprise information. The ERP systems like Oracle and SAP were developed to join together processes in a particular enterprise. This consists of planning, sales and manufacturing. However, the more recent products also cover human resources, marketing, customer service, finance, and inventory management.

Company executives believe that growth areas in the Enterprise Resource Planning market should be more advanced than, and as efficient as, cloud-based systems which are more responsive to their needs for changing business models.

SAP & Oracle ERP

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SAP and Oracle are definitely the market leaders. However, as the market and industry continue to evolve, more innovative products are necessary.

These products should be based on fundamental drivers which are:

  • Business Processes
  • Systems Technology
  • Technological Upsides or Benefits
  • Software Vendors
  • Monitoring and Reporting
  • Cost of Ownership

However, this dissertation will first present the legacy created by the top two ERP software providers.

SAP and Oracle are the pioneers in this field. However, the capabilities of other providers such as Microsoft and Net Suite have demonstrated features that can respond to the expectations of clients in terms of Enterprise Resource Planning. Chief executive officers, chief information officers and chief financial information officers will most likely prefer applications that will provide them with inputs and systems for more informed decision making. Then, it will not be an ill-advised move to veer away from the traditional solutions. All that matters is to make company operations more efficient and cost-effective.

Edging Out the Competition with a Masters in Business Analytics

There is a continued rise in business analytics degrees, and having a master’s degree in the field can improve an individual’s chances of obtaining employment and greater benefits than those who earn a bachelor’s degree.

Business Analytics provides corporations a distinct edge. It is a tool that makes companies come up with information-based decisions better and quicker. It is the study of data by means of statistical and operations analysis, configuration of analytical models, application of optimization processes, and conveying these results to target audiences. These are the clients, business associates and other company executives.

It is supposed to enhance operational competence. Nevertheless, smaller enterprises are hampered by several factors. These are the exorbitant cost of business infrastructure and intelligence tools as well as untrained staff. Business analytics entail skills that the potential analyst should assimilate while in the process of learning the expertise. Of course, the bottom line is earning formal education capped by a Masters in Business Analytics Degree.

Why Study Business Analytics?

Top officials of prominent academic institutions in the country modify their respective programs in accordance with business requirements and trends associated with technology development. In fact, terminologies like “analytics” and “data science” are now used by some universities and colleges to describe new graduate certificate programs as well as masters degrees. Programs in Business Analytics will guide students in the use of quantitative as well as tools in statistical analysis. Data science curriculum highlights technical expertise connected with management of sizeable data. There is less weight on data assessment and interpretation.
This degree provides students the chance to apply math and computing know-how in a new syllabus that brings together two vital facets – business and technology. You can acquire skills in utilizing data for business strategies and decision-making. There are subjects such as:

  • Application of quantitative methods in Information Systems/Technology
  • Operations and Management Sciences
  • Marketing
  • Statistical Methodologies
  • Communications
  • Basic & Advance Accounting Principles
  • Finance concepts

Supplementary courses are also offered in data warehousing and mining; decision-making models; and, prediction finance platforms. Students focus on digital and social media analysis, along with business applications which include process optimization.
Benefits derived from earning the Masters in Business Analytics are as follows:

  • Higher financial compensation
  • Advancement opportunities
  • Flexible schedules

This new degree is designed for enterprising students with interests in computing, mathematics/statistics, data analysis, and statistics.

Business Analytics Programs in the US

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The United States News and World Report, an American news magazine known for ranking of academic institutions, comes up with a list of US colleges and universities offering business degrees. Some of these schools also offer distance learning programs. An online curriculum generally focuses on problem solving with modules in marketing, risk analytics and data mining (computer-based).

Certain Masters in Business Analytics programs include specialization in information systems management for working professionals. This can complement business analytics. Acquiring a master’s degree in information systems, particularly business analytics produces major benefits. The advanced business program focuses on quantitative techniques and the function of evidence-based data in business models and decision-making.

On the other hand, MS in Business Analytics is ideal for professionals with an interest in quantitative methodologies, exploring and discovering economic relationships utilizing data assessment. It has emerged as the meeting point of business and technology. The curriculum extends fresh opportunities for a more competitive benefit. Business analytics reveals the analytical promise of data analysis to enhance financial implementation, strategic management as well as operational competence.

The business analyst should be well-versed in documentation and specification which includes communication. You must be capable of using various methods in analyzing problems and formulating solutions. BA professionals must have the capacity to evaluate substantial quantities of data and gain insights required for educated decision-making.

Value of Business Analytics

Business analytics basically reduces the overall project performance costs. The analyst helps an enterprise understand what is required from solutions and facilitates concentration on value. This is something that stakeholders are unenthusiastic to prioritize. On the contrary, analytics focus on principles of transparency which prepares corporate organizations to get ready for transformation. It supplies a framework that information technology can scale without too much difficulty.

As the organization begins to grow, it brings along individuals and groups that have interests in the company. While this takes place, natural prototypes which are effective for smaller teams have the tendency to collapse. Business analysis is a primary factor in facilitating scalability, thereby increasing the benefits realized because more projects can be successful investments. BA creates value which needs to be defined and quantified correctly. It is essential to identify appropriate measures of returns, profile concrete as well as intangible returns, and contemplate on a broad range of benefits. One of the most significant upsides of business analytics is to strengthen a company’s competency in addressing a wide range of complex business issues.

Analytics and Data

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Majority of corporate personalities think of analytics as the mere aggregation of data utilizing software applications or producing dashboards or reports. On the contrary, business analytics is more than these. It goes further than data. In fact, the principal objective of BA is to facilitate business decisions based on this data. The whole thing entails working closely with stakeholders to comprehend variances in the business. This can be a guide in controlling data, obtaining practical insights and making the necessary recommendations. All these are primary actions that can hopefully increase revenues and bring down operational costs.

What is the analytics career? In case you are involved in data management, warehousing or business intelligence, then this is the motivation to develop a career in analytics. This profession is often described as a cohesive branch of learning that draws together the expertise, statistics, management, and data mining. In fact, business analytics is at the meeting point between enterprise and information technology. It concentrates on setting off acumen contained in data to enhance operational competence, financial operations and strategic supervision. Diagnostic resources of software programs are now available to corporate institutions. Furthermore, modernization in core technologies has transformed business analytics. It has become very accessible to business practitioners whereas before it used to be a special and technical discipline.

Managers adept in value added analytics can now make use of analytic programs to influence their choices. This practice is fast becoming popular worldwide. In reality, the latest reports from industries worldwide mention indirectly that there is an increasing deficiency of proficiency in business analytics. Many executives are not well-versed in utilizing data to shape business decisions.

Common Perspectives

Business analytics specialists are not just domain creators. There are shared points of view that analysts should espouse. These are the following:

  • Analytical
  • Processes
  • Strategic
  • Personal

A good number of analysts know the analytical standpoint. More often than not, it converges on how the resourcefulness will turn out and illustrates the quantitative significance that will be generated. It can be the most normative methodology and in general gravitates around creating consistent relationships and applying logical forms of persuasion. Process outlook typically concentrates on things that need to be carried out. It has the propensity to put emphasis on steps with the new approach.

The main points of interest include quality, performance and implied changes. Personal discernment places emphasis on how initiatives will influence individuals within any corporate organization. Intangible value is by and large underlined according to how corporate managers perform their responsibilities. It is important to communicate the value of business analytics so it can help stakeholders achieve organizational change. At the same time, there should be a co-relation to the aspects of information technology, architecture, future proofing, big data, and integration.

Information Technology Architecture and Future Proofing

Information technology design must go through future-proofing to comply with demands of businesses in a domain that is influenced heavily by Big Data (mobile and social). Chief information officers need to review carefully the condition of the business as well as strategies surrounding information technology. In the past, cloud computing was not well known or rather inaccessible. Social media was virtually unheard of and Big Data used to be discussed only in conversations among IT experts. Likewise, the matter of business analytics was confined to a small group of experts.

All of a sudden, technology moved forward at a very fast pace and there was a big data explosion. This called for an explosion of infrastructure development. Everything changed considerably since then. Ever-increasing demands of contemporary businesses require highly innovative concepts and tools. Business analysts have to think profoundly and innovatively regarding the architecture of the future. It is not enough to refurbish or make additional inputs. Otherwise, you cannot conform to these stringent challenges. The cloud, social media, mobile capabilities, and Big Data (now known as Big Vision) which are all inherent in global commerce need several things. These are state of the art applications, enhanced automated systems, and absolute support across the cloud, and integral business intelligence/social competence.

More Modernization and Less of Integration

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Business analysts should learn how to adjust values. There should be more in innovation and limited integration. For three decades, technology specialists unveiled an assortment of fresh products. The drawbacks of these goods or services are lack of power and capacity; too complicated; need for a lot of amalgamation, tests, fine-tuning, and upgrading; and, constant monitoring. This should have been acceptable back in the olden days. However, technology again reared its ugly head. Yet, all these become obsolete in so short a time because of modernization.

Modern institutions and smart management teams are now turning their backs on operations that need large capital outlay that fail to deliver value. The clamor is for the CIO to leave the principle of integration behind. Instead, commit more time and resources to development–oriented as well as customer-centered innovation. In recent years, a small number of IT professionals started to propose newly engineered systems that offer pre-fabricated and pre-examined programs that spare users from the troubles of never-ending integration. Thanks to corporations such as ORACLE and IBM, followed by MICROSOFT that novel and amazing software and hardware were introduced to the market.

These new systems described as “engineered” have equipped clever chief information officers the autonomy to commit more human resources and energy. These are necessary in working to achieve initiatives that customers look for. There is no need after all to spend substantial funds on integration that does not produce any competitive advantages for the company.

Considering Ultimate Objectives

The ultimate goal is multi-faceted. It is important to develop that sense of intelligence to create a chain of opportunities. Make use of all available ideas and resources such as the available conceptions of supply as well as demand sequence, data storage, and other insights. Business architecture confirms any strategic plan vis-à-vis the enterprise model. This is all about business relationships, market forces and relationships between business units.

Meanwhile, Big Data is diverse and it is growing fast. However, it needs substantial smart management of data. This goes hand in hand with the cloud which presents opportunities that will make organizations more efficient, responsive and competitive. Organizations call for an avant-garde information management design that is crucial to this objective. Everything is part of the large picture and it is up to users to deal with this pattern systematically.

Cloud endeavors should not be assessed based on technical points alone but also on how they influence important initiatives on business transformation. It is all a matter of values and opportunities that will be open to the chief information officer. By and large, those practicing business analytics should be classified into two categories. The first is made up of information technology experts who concentrate more on the technical facets of cloud deployment. The second consists of business heads who will make sure that cloud programs are envisioned and carried out for the same clients, the company and business performance.

Perhaps, the best option is to have a combination of the two types of leaders. It can be useful for the organization as well as the professional career of the concerned business analyst. This should be the guiding principle for all organizations that attach importance to information technology.

Is a Business Analyst Degree Necessary to Become a Business Analyst?

While the lack of proper training and formal education can become a hindrance for someone who wants to enter the arena of business, aspiring business analysts have other options, such as diplomas and certifications.

A common explanation for Business Analytics is review of data by means of statistical and operations assessment. It also refers to developing analytical platforms and using optimization techniques. Results are then communicated to clients, business associates and other stakeholders. The program for a potential Business Analyst deals more with quantitative processes along with data based on evidence for business models and decision-making. As catalysts of change, business analysts identify areas that need to be transformed in a corporate organization.

Multiple Functions of a Business Analyst

Responsibilities of the analyst depend primarily on the industry and nature of business. However, these can be classified according to the following:

  • Study organizational objectives and concerns.
  • Analyze relevant information.
  • Communicate with employees, managers and other stakeholders.
  • Document all findings.
  • Evaluate the viability of proposed solutions.

This service provider in the field of analytics must define and manage structures to accomplish the wide-ranging targets of analysis, planning and synthesis. Business analysts are expected to be at the forefront of carrying out technology-oriented solutions. The method will be cost-effective and communicated to associates, facilitators and other stakeholders.

Training in the field of business analysis explains the need to manage requirements efficiently which happens to be the main skill of all analysts. This responsibility starts with defining, evaluating, documenting, and administering requirements at the program level. At the same time, these experts in conducting assessments must assume control in the following areas:

  • Render support for business cases
  • Planning and monitoring functions
  • Sorting out requirements
  • Simplifying these prerequisites

If you are in this field, it will also be your principal duty to design and appraise test cases, deal with requests for changes and manage the entire scope of the project. Deliverables vary depending on company expectations. The job may be confined to information technology alone. However, some employers require involvement in operations, marketing, banking, and insurance.

Business Analyst’s Areas of Responsibility

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Senior analysts are expected to engage in more intricate and high-profile assignments. Project difficulty assumes multiple forms. Integrated approaches generate complexity since analysts should monitor new requirements using these unified systems. For example, stakeholders produce a level of complication as a result of different perspectives that you need to consider before coming up with a final solution.

The responsibility becomes more complex due to the introduction of enterprise analysis. This entails helping senior executives to tackle interconnected scheme. If you are a business analyst for information technology matters, most of the work deals with software modifications. There will be new business spheres of influence. Hence, analysts will have been very adept in systems knowledge. Competencies should be expanded to the maximum. Of course, the analyst should be at the helm of business analytics. This will also call for coordination as well as teaching junior analysts in the company. Finally, business analysts must be fully aware of the organization’s operations and assist stakeholders in exploring other technology options.

Proper Education for Business Analysts

It is important to obtain the proper education if you want to become a business analyst. The Bachelor’s of Science degree program in accounting, business administration or finance should provide sufficient theoretical schooling for students. Preliminary courses will depend on your major. Yet, these can also cover investment management, taxation principles or fundamental cost accounting. In addition, certain programs oblige foundation in mathematics, statistics and econometrics. These subjects help in the preparation of students for financial modeling.

In certain instances, students are required to maintain a Grade Point Average (GPA) for introductory subjects as pre-requisites for major courses. Successful completion of said pre-conditions will allow you to enroll in advanced classes for taxation, business law and financial accounting. This approach enables learners to gain specialized knowledge in higher-level curriculum. For instance, finance majors can start studying about estate planning modules together with risk management. On the other hand, accounting students can focus on auditing concepts and internal controls.

Internships and Graduate Programs for Business Analysts

Business group portrait

As a rule, students get additional credits for taking part in professional practicum or internship programs. Interns in the field of finance have the prerogative of applying techniques mainly to build a folder of financial assets. It is also an opportunity for you to show expertise in formulating investment strategies. Accounting majors have the chance to acquire on-the-job practice in making analyses of balance sheets and income or revenue statements.

There are corporations that choose to hire analysts who have obtained graduate courses. These can be or Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Finance or Master of Accounting. Graduate students also get added insights in business analysis by way of individual assignments and group projects. In the same manner, advanced modules in financial strategies, mathematical models and investments management sharpen skills of students. These can serve as preparatory training for decision making in financial issues as well as cost assessment. MBA graduate students can enroll in additional courses that deal with organizational behavior and strategic operations. These can give you a better comprehension of managing the business competently.

Other Training Options for Business Analysts

Aside from formal education, there are other ways that can lead one to becoming a successful business analyst. What is important is that you demonstrate extreme competence and build up your career growth opportunities. Earning certification as an IT expert is an essential stepping stone. Or, understanding of vertical markets can be an advantage. The vertical market concentrates on meeting requirements of one particular industry. On the contrary, the horizontal market sells commodities or services in multiple industries. It focuses more on broad segments of business. The single niche can be the development of payroll applications for start-up enterprises.

It is possible to shift to a business analytics profession once you finish a degree in business, accounting, information systems, human resources or related disciplines. You can even get hold of an entry-level position by signing up in a certificate program designed for business analysts. The expertise you obtain is a mode of transitioning to this career. Software developers are also qualified to develop into analysts. Knowledge of data mining and data analysis as well as communications will certainly come in handy. Detailed awareness about the life sequence of software development is also a big plus. Certifications recognized by the industry are important to embarking on this career path.

Prestigious BA Certifications

The next step after completion of formal training programs is to get hold of the highly-valued industry accreditation. The certificate will provide the aspiring analyst an immediate competitive advantage. Some of the highly-regarded certifications include the International Institute of Business Analysis certification test, Certification of Competency in Business Analysis and the Certified Business Analysis professional official recognition.

Other than the distinction, potential employers value these accreditations very much. In fact, said credentials can enhance your chances of securing a desirable position in the corporate world. It will also help if you have the traits of being a diagnostic thinker or talented in coming up with potential solutions for business issues. Continue exploring technology and building your network of contacts. These attributes, along with the possibility of earning your certificate, can only be the beginning of a more exciting career in business analytics.

Skills Acquisition

It really does not follow that earning a degree in Masters of Business Administration will equip you with all the capabilities of emerging as a highly qualified business analyst. This degree will serve as base. Yet, the technical proficiency and explicit business acumen that you need are not endowed by this formal program.

There are additional qualifications that you need:

  • Formidable skills in solving problems, communications and analytical flair.
  • Complete knowledge of J2EE and NET frameworks. J2EE is the acronym for Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition. It is an independent platform (JAVA-centric environment) for the purpose of developing, creating and installing Internet-based enterprise programs. The .NET structure is software from Microsoft that operates on Windows. It consists of the Framework Class Library and supplies language which use code written in different languages across various programming languages.
  • Knowledge in Internet technologies such as Java Script, Hypertext Markup Language or HTML and Active Server Pages will undoubtedly be very useful.
  • Standard Query Language or SQL can also help you. This is a special purpose programming language to manage data stored in Relational Database Management Systems. Unified Modeling Language (UML) and MS Visio are also recommended applications. UML is another general purpose modeling language in software engineering that affords a standard in visualizing systems design. Microsoft Visio is a platform for vector graphics and diagramming.

There are continuous training programs for the business analyst which are designed to help you perform as management consultant who can analyze and propose solutions that create value and produce benefits for the corporate organization. Additional training will also teach the analyst practical skills in analysis of complex business structures.

Outlook for Employment

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The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes information regarding possible opportunities for different categories of business analysts as well as corresponding compensation online. You can check out www.bls.gov on the web from time to time. The classifications range from budget to financial and management analysts.

The average earnings of the entry-level business analyst can start at $45,000 per annum. However, this is expected to increase as you gain more experience and competence. The BLS also disclosed that experienced analysts can earn from $56,000 up to $100,000 annually. Salaries depend on the company, geographical location, educational background, professional qualifications, and other experience. The business analyst is promoted to supervisory level like the Senior Business Analyst after gaining necessary sufficient expertise. You also have the chance to be promoted to a higher position at the administrative level in the organizational hierarchy.

Prospects and Goals

It is time for business analysts to widen cross-functional skills. This is important if you wish to open out your career horizons and look for challenges beyond your comfort zone. Cross-functional curiosity will give you more clout to come up with holistic recommendations for top management. At the same time, the advent of Big Data has transformed many things about the business as well as modified functions of the business analyst.

Business analysts have to study the concept of Data Mining. This is referred to as the technique of analyzing data from various viewpoints before condensing it into valuable information. This data may be utilized by corporate organizations for cost reduction measures or increasing profits. The software for data discovery helps users to look for examples in huge data listings. It is not yet a well-known terminology although the technology has been used by corporate institutions for some time.

Data mining is business intelligence technology which can obtain comprehensive and helpful information from a big population of data. You can use it to unearth unknown trends and prototypes. The product of data mining exercise can assume the form of designs or trends which are embedded in the data. Data mining techniques are classified into two major components. These are model building and clustering.
The first strives to produce an extrapolative model associated with a business question. You can determine how potential customers will be interested in a specific offer. The model can be opaque which means that it is expected to work but the reasons and process cannot be found out accurately. It can also be transparent which implies that you know how the model comes to a specific forecast. Of course, this will depend on the selected method. Both can be acceptable based on the function.

Likewise, analysts will have to know more about information technology to examine and evaluate market research output. There has been constant modernization efforts by IT experts geared towards increasing processing power and disk storage capacity. In fact, software applications make it possible to develop accuracy and lower operational costs. Many companies in the retail, communications, financial and marketing companies make use of data mining nowadays. This program allows entrepreneurs to establish relationships anchored on price, commodity positioning, employee skills, economic indicators, customer demographics, and competition.

Business Analytics Techniques

It is important for organizations to learn about various business analytics techniques which can help improve business performances.

Business analytics combine different strategies and tools to improve the performance of an enterprise. These form part of the management system and embody the particular approaches which the company adopts. Business analysts must be well-versed with techniques in business analysis which can be used in addressing current problems. There are numerous methods in quantitative analysis. Yet, there are primary strategies which are recognized as valuable for most business owners.

BA Technique #1 – MOST

These techniques in business analysis can help company executives and managers in reviewing different options to manage the organization. Most of the solutions can include modifications in the organization, strategic development or creation of new policies. One of these techniques is more popularly known as MOST which means: Mission or the direction of the business; Objectives referring to the objectives that will help achieve the mission; Strategies or the different options to move forward; and, Tactics or how different strategies are implemented.

BA Technique #2 – PESTLE

The PESTLE technique is the second among business analytics tools which is meant to scrutinize the various external elements which can affect an enterprise and its operations. It is made up of six characteristics:

  • Political (present and future political influences)
  • Economic (impact of local, national and global economy)
  • Sociological (various ways society can affect any organization)
  • Technological (effect of new and emerging technologies)
  • Legal (effect of national and world legislation)
  • Environmental (issues on local, national and world environment)

BA Technique #3 – CATWOE

CATWOE is a business analysis technique which supports critical thinking about what the business hopes to accomplish. There are six elements considered part of this technique:

  • Customers (benefits derived from high-level business process and corresponding effects)
  • Actors (individuals involved in the situation and solutions for success)
  • Transformation Process (processes or systems are affected by the issue)
  • World View (big picture and broader impacts of the issue)
  • Owner (process or situation being investigated and roles in the solutions)
  • Environmental Constraints (limitations that will impact the solution and its success)

BA Technique #4 – SWOT

The SWOT analysis provides a complete overview of both internal and external factors affecting a business. The four SWOT elements are:

  • Strengths (examine the strengths of the organization)
  • Weaknesses (know the downsides that you will be encountering)
  • Opportunities (take advantage of the opportunities that come along the way)
  • Threats (neutralize possible threats that may come about)

The Five Why’s methodology in business analytics is used to help get to the root of any given problem within the business intelligence. It is a technique that calls for asking questions to examine the cause and effect of a specific circumstance.

The process of business analysis can be very complicated. Fortunately, there are several solutions that are open to business managers. Under this broad continuum lies a number of sub-disciplines, roles and numerous techniques that you can always make use of. Bear in mind that all corporate entities experience such conditions and issues. You need help to keep on going forward. This is when you need the expertise of a business analyst to help in providing this technical competence.

Difference between Business Analytics and Business Intelligence

Business analytics differs from business intelligence. Business owners must learn the distinctions between the two in order to effectively employ them for the success of their enterprise.

Experts maintain that business analytics is basically one term for a bigger concept and is associated with the following complex functions:

  • Enterprise information
  • Enterprise performance management
  • Data warehousing
  • Analytic applications
  • Business intelligence
  • Business risks
  • Compliance
  • Governance 

Business Analytics vs. Business Intelligence

Business intelligence is an umbrella term as well but it is a more focused concept. Enterprises that utilize tools, infrastructure, applications, and practices permit them to access and analyze data. This leads to improvements in optimization and performance. This means that they make use of business intelligence programs. The two are not really new concepts. Business analytics and intelligence have emerged as principal implements that guide decisions and strategies for disciplines like marketing, research and development, customer care, credit and inventory management. Both are progressing rapidly to meet business challenges and develop fresh opportunities.

The two approaches are on the pointed end of a major change and the shift is geared towards providing bottomless insight into business information. Likewise, there is a mounting emphasis on superior tools and more advanced software in the possession of decision makers. Remember that going through and obtaining data calls for a strong infrastructure, effective data gathering implements, and sophisticated software for mining and business analytics. The emergence of these tools makes it possible for business planners to make out unseen trends, customer relationships, purchasing behavior, operational and monetary patterns, and business opportunities.

These two are distinct but connected tools. Business intelligence provides a way of amassing data to find information primarily through asking questions, reporting, and online analytical processes. On the other hand, business analytics takes advantage of statistical and quantitative data for explanatory and predictive modeling. Analytics focuses on solutions-oriented capabilities which create value and convert information into knowledge. Both business intelligence and analytics are going forward briskly. Organizations are now turning to these vehicles to encompass bigger and assorted data sets. These consist of unstructured data like documents, e-mail, audio files, and video footages.

The only issue is that the standard business intelligence tools are not very flexible and most databases have not been designed for fast change. Moreover, majority of conventional BI sellers continue to produce products that do not interface particularly well with alternative sources of data like social media. Many corporate entities opt for business intelligence programs to upgrade their decision-making abilities, reduce operational costs, and pinpoint fresh business prospects.

It is more than just corporate reporting and a bunch of tools to wheedle the required data out of enterprise systems. This is being utilized to categorize inept business methodologies which are ripe for reconstruction. In fact, you can begin to analyze data using these tools instead of waiting for Internet technology to manage complicated reports. It may be true that business intelligence has a great potential, the implementation process can be affected by a lot of challenges especially technical and social aspects. However, business owners should make sure that data feeding these applications should be consistent and wholesome so users will trust the program.

The Best Business Analytics Software

You can find the most suitable business analytics tools and software for your organization by comparing reviews of different products in the market today.

Business analytics is aptly described as the fusion of technologies, competencies, practices, and applications for the constant review of business performance to achieve insights and facilitate business planning. It utilizes several factors such as data; quantitative and statistical analyses; extrapolative and explanatory modeling; and, management based on facts to propel decision-making processes.
On the other hand, business intelligence software is used in the analysis of business data so you can comprehend better the strengths and weaknesses of a corporate organization. This type of software enables the company to perceive the relationship between a collection of data for maximum utilization of resources and smart decision-making. It has a vital role in the corporation’s strategic planning efforts.

The Benefits of Business Analytics Software

Business analytics software makes the lives of business proprietors and corporate planners less difficult since it combines available business information. Likewise, it analyzes some aspects of said information to spare the analyst of the trouble of having to perform this function manually. Analytics software can be programmed to monitor sales, payments, supply inventories and related functions. The business analytics program establishes who clicks links used in a website. This includes information like browsers; plug-ins; and, operating systems being used.

SAS

SAS is one of the acknowledged leaders in business analytics and business intelligence programs. The world-renowned service provider assists corporate entities in foreseeing business opportunities, making impact and empowering action. In fact, SAS is said to be the analytics of the years to come. It integrates the strengths of solutions and technologies to resolve fraud issues in financial services and addressing challenges that confront industries with regards to the rising value of customer relationships, risk management and optimization of information technology networks.

IBM

IBM facilitates savvy business decisions with reliable solutions that bring business intelligence to a higher level. Modernization introduced by this reputable provider has enhanced business analytics so that corporate institutions will gain valuable information needed to move their businesses forward.

InetSoft Style Intelligence

On the other hand, InetSoft Style Intelligence introduces an operational business intelligence platform with a powerful data engine to create dashboards, visual analyses, and reporting. The integrated and easy-to-deploy as well as easy-to-use business intelligence programs maximize self-service and serves both business firms and solution providers. This particular software controls a powerful patent-pending Data Block foundation for real-time data. It supplies information by way of interactive dashboards, enterprise reporting, scorecards, and exception alerts. Other business intelligence software applications do not have this combined system. Besides, it has business analytics software and modern reporting capacity aside from direct access to practically all sources of data.

Oracle Business Analytics

Another outstanding company, Oracle Business Analytics assists organizations by teaching them to determine novel means in planning, strategizing and optimizing business operations as well as acquiring new market opportunities. It is said to be one of the market leaders in business analytics software. The company can be relied upon to deliver comprehensive solutions that allow clients to gain insight into every aspect of their enterprise, plan ahead, and act with confidence on any mechanism.

One of the strengths of this business analytics software is enterprise performance management. You can make forecasting with greater accuracy employing its business planning solutions which bring into line finance and operations. These applications support strategic planning, goal-setting, financial and operations projections, financial close and reporting process, and profitability management in one built-in suite.

Business Analyst Salary

The salary earned by a business analyst varies on the level of experience, as well as the industry in which he or she works.

How to Become a Successful Business Analyst

Completion of business analytics education guarantees a career as business analyst in prestigious private corporations. This position is quite technical and requires the analyst to develop and analyze workflows as well as strategies in business organizations. He or she is also expected to find out if different applications conform to prearranged industry standards. In business analysis, you should learn to communicate effectively with various audiences. On top of this, you are expected to prepare technical evaluation reports and get involved in project management functions.

How Much do Business Analysts Earn?

Annual business analyst salary (entry level) for professional with less than one year of experience starts at approximately $31,000 up to $58,800. These figures are based on a survey conducted by Pay Scale, Incorporated last year for more than 1,300 business analytics practitioners. The compensation is expected to increase for those with a maximum of four years experience. Thus, the salaries will range from $36,993 to $71,753 annually. Meanwhile, Salary.com revealed that business analysts at the low level earned a standard salary of $50,476.

Business Analyst Salary by Industry

Prominent industries which employ business analysts consist of software development companies, hospitals and healthcare service providers, insurance firms, manufacturers of software applications and financial services institutions.

Pay Scale further revealed that insurance and healthcare offered the highest starting wages for graduates of business analytics courses. For financial companies and software applications, the lowest salary (annual) for business analysts was estimated between $40, 471 and $40, 293 respectively. Software developers were paid the lowest salaries at $39, 205 each year. Aside from competitive wages, business analytics experts are given medical and dental benefits, performance incentives and profit sharing as part of their compensation packages. The average bonus for business analysts is from $733 to $9,955 per annum. On the other hand, profit sharing business analysts can look forward to financial growth as they continue to amass additional experience. Yearly salaries for analysts with five to nine years of aggregate experience ranged from $44,235 to $87,243. Those who have more than 10 years of practice can earn as much as $98,000 every year. The required business analytics degree is an associate degree. Most of them finish a business or computer science-related field.

Business Analyst Salary by Location

Median compensation for the business analyst is more or less $82,000 which is lower by $4,000 compared to the 2009 median. This figure considers all experience levels and geographic locations. Business analysts residing in the northeast and western portions of the U.S. earn higher salaries than those coming from the middle and southern regions. Employment outlook in business analytics is comparatively optimistic. Positions are projected to grow during the next 10 years especially with the continuing progression of information technology.

Business Analyst Career Outlook

Business analysts can be assured of positive developments in terms of career growth. There is a strong demand nowadays for professionals who can identify business requirements, craft solutions and translate these into IT specifications that allow companies to attain their business goals. The nucleus of establishing a lucrative career path is to generate more experience since this is a way of testing your core competencies.

What does a Business Analyst Do?

Are you interested in what a business analyst does for an organization? Learning the day-to-day duties of a business analyst will help you determine if you have what it takes to become one.

Business analytics plays a relatively crucial role in any corporate organization. It is a methodical approach for bringing in and managing change in enterprises. Management relies on business analysis to come up with solutions that can enhance the value provided by a business entity to its shareholders. The business analyst needs to work from corner to corner of the company that he or she represents. These functions can include formulation of strategies; producing enterprise architecture in line with information management; taking a lead to define objectives and needs in making programs successful; and, sustaining initiatives in information technology.

In the field of business analysis, the primary task of the analyst deals mainly with the following:

  • Determine the fundamental requirement of the business that needs to be resolved and gather information relevant to projects and products being undertaken by the company.
  • Analysis of requirements which entail organization and specification just to make sure that findings are clear and complete.
  • Documentation of said requirements in a configuration which can easily be recognized by stakeholders of the company.
  • Validation of conditions to make sure that these are in accordance with standards of quality and approved by individuals with interests in the business.

From time to time, the field of business analytics requires more complex activities like planning and more intricate management functions. However, the core of this expert’s responsibilities revolves around investigation. The business analyst conducts research and interviews to observe and understand the operations of specific areas and disciplines. These things are done inside and outside the organization.

Considerable time is spent in the analysis of information acquired through business analytics tools. These facts and statistics are evaluated carefully for pertinent trends and designs. The analyst makes it a point to assess these pieces of information thoroughly. Each item must be current, systematic and accurate. The analyst investigates profoundly for sources of problems and determines latent solutions. Incidentally, ample time should be spent for analysis and comparison of solutions to balance them as against real needs.

Other Business Analyst Duties

In business analysis, you have to engage in a lot of proactive communications and coordination. This is not limited to pure conversation but paying attention to oral and written messages, initiating open discussion, confirming that the target audience understood your messages clearly, and conveying things these people learned to those who create the actual solutions. Documentation of all observations and findings is important in business analytics. These professionals need to contemplate very carefully on the most effective ways to verify particular forms of information in all forms (illustrations, pie charts and graphic interpretations). The business analyst is also tasked to identify possible alternatives to address issues and choose the best answer for the problem. The key is to meet requirements and select the most effective process for implementation. Ultimately, the success of the enterprise will depend partly on the business analytics program being implemented by the company in line with its principal goals and overall vision. These are among the concerns in business analysis that management has to look out for.