These days, business analytics is one of the hottest tools in a manager’s toolbox. The ability to access and analyze data has transformed the way businesses operate, giving managers the ability to make better decisions, improve operational efficiency, and increase profitability.
What Are Business Analytics?
Business analytics is the process of analyzing data to gain insights that can help improve business performance. It involves using data from the past and present to make predictions about future trends. Business analytics can be helpful to identify patterns and trends, understand customer behavior, and make better decisions about marketing, product development, and operations.
If you’re looking to get started with business analytics, or if you want to take your skills to the next level, here are 10 essential tips you should know:
1. Understand the Basics of Statistical Analysis
Statistical analysis forms the foundation of business, so you must have a basic understanding of concepts like mean, median, mode, standard deviation, and regression analysis. If you need a refresher, there are plenty of resources available online, including this free course from Harvard Business School.
2. Learn How to Use Excel
Excel is the most popular data analysis tool, so you must know how to use it effectively. If you’re new to Excel, start with some basic tutorials like this one from Microsoft. Once you’ve got the basics down, move on to more advanced techniques like pivot tables and macros.
3. Know Your Way Around a Database
Most business data is stored in databases, so you must know how to query data from a database using SQL. If you’re not familiar with SQL, there are plenty of resources available online, including this free course from W3Schools.
4. Get Comfortable with Data Visualization
Data visualization is a key part of business analytics, so you must know how to create charts and graphs that effectively communicate your data. If you’re not sure where to start, check out this guide to data visualization from Harvard Business Review.
5. Use Data to Tell a Story
One of the most important skills in business analytics is the ability to take complex data sets and turn them into stories that can be easily understood by non-technical people. This requires both an understanding of data and strong communication skills.
6. Know When to Use Statistical Techniques
There are a variety of statistical techniques that can be beneficial for business, but it’s important to know when to use each one. For example, regression analysis is typically helpful to predict future outcomes, while cluster analysis is essential to group data points with similar characteristics.
7. Be Aware of Common Pitfalls
There are several common mistakes that people make when doing analytics, so it’s important to be aware of them. Some common mistakes include using the wrong data, relying on gut instinct instead of data, and making assumptions about causality.
8. Know How to Use Analytics Software
There are a variety of software programs that can be helpful for business, including Excel, SPSS, and Tableau. While you don’t need to be an expert in all of them, it’s important to know how to use at least one or two of them.
9. Keep Up with The Latest Trends
Business analytics is a rapidly changing field, so it’s important to keep up with the latest trends and developments. One way to do this is to read industry publications like Harvard Business Review and Fast Company or follow popular business analytics bloggers like Bill Schmarzo and DJ Patil.
10. Get Certified
If you want to take your business analytics career to the next level, consider getting certified. There are several different business analytics certification programs available, including the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) program from INFORMS and the Certified Business Analytics Specialist (CBAS) program from SAS.
Check out these business analytics certifications to find the right one for you. Now that you’re familiar with some essential tips for business analytics, it’s time to put them into practice. Use these tips to improve your data analysis skills and take your career to the next level.