Just as astronauts explore new worlds and make sense of their surroundings in a brand new context, companies are exploring all the ways that data offers insight into business environments. Data isn’t static. It involves both human actors and machines in analysis and can take on different forms depending on who is interacting with data and how.
In fact, we can look to the form of our own planet, Earth, to illustrate how a comprehensive data strategy works together to create the right conditions for “life” in a business. You don’t need to know what’s happening underneath to interact with the environment—each pathway, landmark, or weather incident helps move your decisions forward. In this three-part series, we’re exploring what goes into this “world” of data. First up? Business analytics, aka the surface or crust.
What is business analytics?
“Surface” doesn’t mean superficial. The crust of the earth is what we see all around us. You’d never accuse nature of being surface-level or inconsequential. The power of nature can send ships in a different direction. Trees offer vital clues to what direction you’re going. Even cityscapes help you navigate from point A to point B.
Business analytics is like the earth’s crust. It offers a user-friendly perspective—in other words, familiar surroundings—focusing on business value. Users may not know what’s going on underneath the surface—such as the algorithms that drive machines to make their decisions—but they can navigate data pipelines to make critical decisions thanks to familiar landmarks within their dashboard.
So what is business analytics in simple terms? Business analytics:
- Ingests historical data to predict outcomes.
- Understands trends and root causes
- Offers context to help businesses make data-informed decisions.
From there, data explorers can learn to survive and thrive in their environment.
What are business analytics tools?
The earth’s crust doesn’t all look the same, and neither do the tools. Each one builds on what’s underneath. Here are the most common tools for business analytics.²
- Descriptive and predictive analytics: This is the magic. With enough data, you can understand the story behind it all and begin to inform future decisions. For example, if you’re deciding when to take a vacation to a certain place, you might examine all the environmental data to go when the weather is great. For your business, deciding when the “weather is great” to launch a new service can make a significant difference in your success.
- Visualization and reporting: The invisible plates underneath the earth shift causing mountains to spring up and tsunamis to change the landscape of the land—all these things tell the story of what’s happening behind the scenes. In the same manner, data visualization helps tell the story of what algorithms find in the data patterns for business. Did business foundations shift and cause an unexpected peak in sales? Did a global disruption cause a business tsunami? It’s all in the data.
What are the benefits of using business analytics?
You need to understand your environment to make the best decisions in real life. You need to understand your business environment to set your business up for success. Business analytics create an easy-to-understand story that illustrates insights from millions of data sources.
Data-driven decisions create value for customers
The earth’s crust might be the lightest and youngest layer of the planet, but it makes life possible for us. Similarly, business analytics might be focused on business users rather than theoretical data science, but this practical use provides exactly the right conditions for business “life.” Business analytics make strategic decisions possible.
Discovering the “what if” and succeeding
Rather than making gut decisions, data allows businesses to innovate and explore new offers or services intelligently. Just like people learn to find their way without maps and technology by reading the subtle cues and signs abundantly available in nature, data allows businesses the same type of “way-finding.” Businesses can pivot quickly during disruption and tweak operations to match what’s currently happening in their business environment. They can mitigate risk and respond promptly to incidents.
Personalized customer experiences
Everything that lives on the earth’s crust has adapted to its environment, and businesses can use analytics in the same way. Companies can use data-driven decision-making to adapt their strategies, providing the personalization customers crave. Thanks to comprehensive data input, customers receive personalization, and businesses can become chameleons. Business analytics behaves like the earth’s crust does to life—it influences each new adaptation.
Business analytics versus business intelligence
Business analytics and business intelligence have slightly different usage. Business intelligence looks to the past to find context for current challenges and understand why something has happened. Business analytics takes historical data and looks forward, uncovering trends before they happen.
For example, business intelligence is like looking at changes in the earth’s crust to identify why the continents look the way they do. Business analytics is like looking at weather patterns in the past to determine when and where a tornado is most likely to appear. Together, these two types of data analysis provide businesses with a complete picture of their environment and how to survive and thrive within its conditions.
Create the best life for your business using business analytics
Business analytics creates the perfect conditions for life in your business to thrive. Insyte Global help companies use data to determine what course of action allows the business to exist and prevent unnecessary risks to operations. It offers a familiar set of metrics that business users can leverage without specialized training or knowledge.
As data explorers move through this first layer, just like astronauts exploring a planet like our own, they might notice things that seem familiar. The more time business users spend working with data, the more they’ll understand their data environment, creating the right conditions to succeed.