The reason why anyone attends an educational course is to get into a good career. When looking at various jobs, it is important to know what future there is in a particular profession. Not all jobs allow a person to move forward very quickly. It is best to study a subject arming you with skills and knowledge that will be in demand for a very long time. This will ensure career advancement and continued demand. Business analytics is one such subject that is much sought-after now and will remain so for many years.
Before we explore career opportunities for a business analytics expert, it is necessary to see what this science is and how businesses can use it for their benefit.
What Is Business Analytics?
It may be difficult to believe but even those who have no inkling of what this means, are being touched by this science daily. The product suggestions e-commerce sites bring up are a result of business analytics. If you receive marketing emails that appear to be written just for you, there is BA working behind it. Business analytics simply refers to collecting, sorting, and analyzing existing data to arrive at better business decisions. The information can come from either within an organization or from outside.
Students of the XLRI business analytics course can teach one that business analytics is a process by which available information is used for optimizing businesses. Data analytics started when experts realized the volume of data that is generated and could be used for finding various patterns of events. Business analytics uses these findings for improving various processes in an organization. Valuable insights are provided by analytics experts that can be used for making better business decisions.
Areas Of Business Analytics To Choose As A Career
This is the simplest type of analytics that uses existing company data to know what has happened earlier and what is taking place presently. This type uses aggregation and mining of data. Various people associated with an organization like investors, shareholders, marketing executives, finance heads, etc. can get access to data that is easily understood. It exposes the strengths and weaknesses of an establishment. One can also know customer behavior from this type of analysis. This helps in formulating marketing strategies.
This type of analytics helps in understanding why events occurred. It is possible to find patterns and trends using diagnostic analytics. This will help in knowing the factors that influence businesses. Techniques like data discovery, data mining, and drill-down are used to find root causes of various occurrences. When causes of trends are discovered it is easy to use them again to recreate situations that are beneficial for businesses.
As the name suggests it helps to predict future events and trends. Those who have entered careers in business analytics know how important this is for companies. This helps in preventing adverse situations. Statistical models and machine learning help in this analysis. Results of descriptive analytics are used to build models that help to predict the likelihood of occurrence of various situations. A very common use of this is to forecast customer opinions based on data collected from social media platforms.
It is not enough to forecast future occurrences. One must know what action is to be taken to use an advantageous situation or avoid a risk. Prescriptive analytics can suggest actions that will help in running a business more efficiently and profitably. It uses past data to recommend how similar situations must be handled. This method helps learn the relationship between certain actions and their results. A strong feedback system and regular iterative analytics help in making accurate recommendations.
Now that we know different segments in BA that one can choose as a career, it is important to know what tasks BA specialists will be performing.
Different Components Of Business Analytics
We have seen the different types of analytics that companies use for improving their decision-making capabilities. It is necessary to see what methods are used to get what one aims for. All these methods will provide actionable insights into a firm and its operation.
This name comes from its similarity to the process used for mining ores. In both cases, it is necessary to sift through massive amounts of materials before one can find something useful. It is a process helping one to find solutions for various business issues that used to take a long time when done manually. Patterns, trends, and relationships not easily identified can be found by analyzing data using statistical techniques. An XLRI business analytics course teaches that this is used mainly for sales and marketing purposes.
This is a process that helps extract valuable information from large amounts of unstructured data. Documents and texts that exist in apps, documents, websites, e-mails, and call center logs are used to check for topics, patterns, keywords, and other attributes. Most AI chatbots and virtual agents used for providing automated responses to customers are incorporated with text mining capabilities. A very important use of text mining is in sentiment analysis which helps to find opinions customers hold about a company or its products. This enables them to improve products and services.
This is an essential step before analytics can be done. Data must be collected, cleaned, and filtered to make sure that only essential items exist. This will help remove inaccuracies and redundancies. This is very crucial because the correctness of actionable results depends on how precise your insights were. This process is used by marketing teams extensively. They use it to collect information like demographics and metrics of customers. This will help them create customized messages for different customers.
Business analytics uses historical data provided to it for presenting a forecast of future events and behavior. This can be used for various marketing purposes. Companies can find out spikes or drops in sales during particular seasons. They can also know when people are most active on their sites and use this information for sending targeted messages. This helps organizations to plan their yearly sales more accurately. Those who have taken up careers in business analytics use this to optimize steps in a customer conversion process.
Analytics experts need to present results in a way that everyone can understand and draw inferences from them. This is done by way of charts, graphs, and maps. It is an easy way to see patterns, trends, and outliers in data. Visual representation is much more attractive which is why TV ads have a better impact than those that can only be read or heard. Our eyes are naturally attracted to colors. Texts and visual effects can be combined well to make a powerful point.
Why Is Business Analytics Important?
Before we go into knowing what career opportunities are there for those attending an XLRI business analytics course, it is necessary to know why analytics is important for firms. What benefits do establishments derive from investing in this technology? Companies generate a lot of information as part of their operations. These contain valuable insights into what factors led to the successes or failures of strategies implemented by them. A proper analysis of this data can help in more efficient functioning.
Enhance Customer Experience
In a world of tough competition, even little things matter. Customer experience is an important factor that can help companies improve their sales drastically. Data about how visitors to a firm’s website behave and where they face difficulties can help make their purchase journey smoother. Analytics helps to find out customer behavior and purchase habits, allowing companies to personalize marketing campaigns to suit different people. Looking at the vast amount of market information will also enable them to find where their products can be best marketed.
Better Inventory Management
Keeping stocks of raw materials or finished products that are not used very frequently can incur a lot of unwanted expenses for organizations. These items will also occupy valuable space in warehouses making it difficult for fast-moving products to be stocked adequately. Analytics helps companies know about the frequency and timing of orders which will help them keep necessary items and reduce purchase or manufacture of slow-moving products. Those who have taken up careers in business analytics can tell you that such streamlining will also help serve customers in a better way.
Improve Manufacturing Processes
IoT is a technology that helps machines convey data to computers in a manufacturing unit. This information helps to know how they are performing and whether any defects need to be attended to. Analytics can go one step further in making production smoother and more efficient. Collecting data can help in knowing how often a machine needs to be serviced to stop unexpected breakdowns. This helps save time and ensures smooth operation. Information from machines will also help in increasing the speed of production.
More Effective Marketing Campaigns
Do marketing campaigns bring you the expected returns? Are they reaching your target audience? All this information can be easily obtained with analytics. Going through details about a company’s customers helps to know their demographics. Firms can know what age of people buy which products and what upgrades they usually go for. Age and sex details of consumers for different items can also be known. This will help organizations launch more effective marketing campaigns resulting in better results. They can also time their launches in a better manner.
Better Manpower Management
Manpower is an important factor in any organization. Without them, companies cannot hope to achieve their objectives. Analytics can help find out if all employees in a firm contribute equally to its success. If any areas need improvement those can be attended to. Another area where analytics helps a lot is in knowing where and how to find the most suitable candidates. It can help sift through a large amount of data available on qualified people who may fit a firm’s requirements.
Handle Finance More Effectively
It is very important for companies to handle their finances very effectively. Every paise they spend must bring them maximum returns. Analytics help to know whether all expenses benefit the firm. It helps in allocating funds in a more beneficial manner. Another important function of analytics is to provide insights on investment. Prescriptive analytics can tell which investments will fetch better returns in the future. Market information about various investment opportunities can be studied to make better investment decisions.
Future Of Analytics
Someone who is looking at analytics as a career must know how this technology will be used in the future. Businesses are expected to use AI, machine learning, and big data for their progress and for providing better services. As customers become used to receiving and expecting personalized services, business analytics becomes a critical factor in every company. As competition increases, organizations will be forced to ensure a better customer experience and BA is the best way to achieve this.
Predictive and prescriptive analytics will prompt companies to think in terms of adopting unconventional technologies to improve sustainability and success rates. Students of the XLRI business analytics course can tell you that data quality management will be an important digital trend. Establishments adopting analytics will find it easy to manage short-term problems and achieve long-term objectives using descriptive and predictive analytics. Those companies that adopt business analytics will be much better placed to be industry leaders.
The future for this technology looks bright and positive. That promises a wide variety of job opportunities for a business analytics expert.
Career Opportunities With A Business Analytics Degree
We have seen a lot about business analytics and how important it is for commercial organizations. It can be seen that there is a good future for this technology and acquiring a degree in this subject can give a boost to your career. But it is essential to know what jobs are available for a person equipped with this qualification. Depending on one’s experience, interest, and skills, aspirants can choose any of these professions.
- Big Data Architect
- Big Data Engineer
- Financial Analyst
- Marketing Analytics Manager
- Business Intelligence Analyst
- Analytics Associate
- Fraud Analyst
- Retail Sales Analyst
- Data Scientist
- Data Visualization Analyst
- Operations Analyst
- Big Data Architect
Big data architects are an indispensable part of any establishment that works with big data. These professionals are responsible for setting up the necessary framework that will help an organization reach its analytics goals. They must do this using data, hardware, software, developers, cloud services, and other IT infrastructure. The aim is to align a company’s goals with its IT assets.
They must oversee the full life-cycle of a Hadoop solution. Jobs like requirement analysis, platform selection, and technical architecture design are all included in their work. Big data architects will also identify data gaps in an organization and provide additional pipelines. This profession involves delivering advanced analytical capabilities and enriched data to applications used by a company.
- Big Data Engineer
This person is considered the master of data supply in an organization. He or she must understand a company’s technical requirements. Such professionals must plan and bring to existence a robust and flexible infrastructure for big data analytics. Those taking up careers in business analytics must know that a big data engineer is tasked with collecting, storing, processing, and analyzing data systems.
They use selected tools and frameworks to design data applications. As per requirements and requests, they must read, extract, transform and load data to users. Writing scripts, web scraping, calling APIs, and preparing SQL queries will be part of their job. They must process unstructured data and analyze it. These professionals must also conduct ad hoc analytics as and when demanded for making business decisions.
- Financial Analyst
Finance is no doubt the main pillar of any organization. Good financial planning and implementation can lead a company to better profitability. There are several areas where firms may be able to reduce expenses. Past information can show which projects got them maximum returns. It is also possible to see holes in operations that were draining money. All these can be used well by a financial analyst with analytics capabilities.
A financial analyst will start by gathering data from various sources. This includes historical financial reports, accounting details from general ledgers, etc. He or she will also collect stock price information and other details that can be gathered from external sources. All these will be organized, cleaned, and placed in required formats. Once this is done they can be analyzed to find patterns that will help in making better financial decisions.
- Marketing Analytics Manager
Marketing a product is what earns a company revenue. It is essential to know what campaigns must be run to attract people towards products. The primary duty of a marketing analytics manager is to lead teams that can analyze marketing campaigns and find their effectiveness. They will use past information to find out which campaigns were most effective and brought in more returns. Such officials will use market data to know which segments are most beneficial to approach for best results.
Companies are looking for market-savvy people who are also good with analytics tools. Such people will be able to quickly analyze available data and arrive at decisions that can bring in better sales. These professionals study customer behavior and tailor campaigns based on their purchase history. Analytics also helps in knowing how a customer behaves on a company website and where changes must be made. This will help make a customer’s purchase experience more smooth.
- Business Intelligence Analyst
The aim of any business owner is to find ways to reduce expenses and increase profitability. This requires making extremely wise decisions. Analytics helps to make such decisions by using past data. Those attending an XLRI business analytics course can take up the role of a business intelligence analyst and use available information to help businesses in taking correct steps towards success.
A BI analyst uses facts pertaining to a company’s revenue, sales, market information, and customer engagement metrics. These experts are also capable of programming tools and data models to help visualize results. Their job includes finding patterns and areas in company operation that show scope for improvement in business practices. They will share their findings using various data visualization methods like graphs, charts, or maps.
- Analytics Associate
These professionals either work for a firm to improve its working methods or join consultant companies that help businesses grow. Their job is to research specific business processes or particular departments and find solutions for improving their performance. They will collect existing and past data for this purpose. This information is analyzed and a detailed report is prepared about how improvements can be made to various systems in an organization.
They will establish procedures in an establishment for collecting and reviewing data that can be used for better decision making. Various tools like R, Tableau, SAS, and Excel are used to investigate different requirements of a firm. They will collaborate with particular departments or organizations for implementing solutions that arise from analytics. Such experts will also check internal software and hardware availability and recommend any changes to be implemented.
- Fraud Analyst
With financial transactions happening online and very quickly, it is necessary to monitor them and prevent any fraud from happening. Even if a criminal act has happened it must be found out immediately and necessary action taken. Fraud analysts study data from various sources to find suspicious activities. They will also use past details to find patterns in transactions. If there is any deviation from these patterns they will immediately notice and inform concerned people.
A fraud analyst usually works with banks or other financial institutions where there are a large number of transactions. They must constantly monitor huge volumes of data to see if there are any discrepancies. These persons must keep themselves updated with the latest methods used by criminals for deviating funds or making fraudulent financial transactions. They must also be good with reporting such events to stakeholders. Their analytical skills combined with knowledge of financial activities help them in their jobs.
- Retail Sales Analyst
The job of a retail sales analyst includes finding solutions for improving sales and profits. They are also responsible for using available information to find out what new products can be listed to add more customer segments. Those planning for careers in business analytics can opt for this job if they are looking for fast progress. With the expansion of retail business in India, there is much scope for these professionals.
They must have the ability to analyze large amounts of past data and find patterns that will help identify customer needs. It is also their job to collect market information to know changes in trends and competitor activities. They will perform predictive analysis to have better estimates about future sales. This will help in ensuring product availability that matches with fluctuations in market demands. These specialists will also analyze order fulfillment to assess the scope for improvement.
Statisticians were traditionally used mainly for research and academic purposes. But there is a recent trend of utilizing their skills in business. Companies are now realizing the advantages of data-driven decisions. Statisticians are those who can use statistical methods to get answers to real-world problems. They can use these techniques to interpret available data and arrive at valuable insights that can be used for making more result-oriented decisions.
Their job responsibilities include collection, analysis, and interpretation of data. This can include information from both internal and external sources. They can find trends and relationships in the details available. In corporate environments, they design data collection processes suitable for that industry. They will communicate their findings and suggestions for changes to respective officials. These professionals can assist companies in making better decisions. Statisticians design surveys and opinion polls that can help collect more relevant data.
- Data Scientist
As the name suggests they are experts in collecting and analyzing large sets of data. This information can be either in structured or unstructured formats. They use their knowledge of computer science, statistics, and mathematics to analyze available details. Once patterns have been uncovered from analyzing data, they will create actionable plans for companies. Those with industry knowledge can use that to give solutions for business challenges. They can use unsorted unstructured data from smart gadgets, social media, and e-mails.
Data scientists are not just technically skilled. They also possess excellent communication skills that help them inform concerned people about their findings in a convincing manner. These specialists also need excellent analytical thinking skills. In many organizations, such experts are also responsible for formulating best practices for cleaning, processing, and storing data. They work with various departments in an establishment. Such professionals are highly sought after by companies that are increasingly becoming data and tech-driven.
- Data Visualization Analyst
Visualization is part of every data scientists’ or analysts’ job. But those companies who must process large volumes of information and come with solutions need separate experts for this. Organizations that must use current data to find real-time solutions need a quick understanding of solutions. Visualization analysts can do this job very well. They will represent the findings of data analytics using various tools and software. Results of analytics can be put across to stakeholders as graphs, maps, or charts.
Their job makes it easy for others to access, understand and use complex and large sets of information. Depending on different corporate requirements they can transform, improve and integrate data. These people are also experts in combining facts that are procured from different sources. This process is known as data federation. They will present their findings and suggestions in a way that is appealing to users. Their skills include seeing the big picture in large amounts of information.
- Operations Analyst
Apart from finance and marketing, another important area that companies look to improve is their operation. Changing their way of working can help in reducing costs and improving efficiency. Some of the main areas where improvement can have a strong impact are human resources, supply chain, and production. All these consume a major chunk of revenue earned by an organization. Optimizing these functions will lead to saving a lot of money that can be used for improving other areas.
Analyzing past data will help these professionals know where there are issues that can be resolved to save money. In human resource management analytics can help place employees in a manner in which they can be utilized better. Analyzing supply chain problems help reduce inventory and ensure faster delivery of goods. This results in better customer loyalty. IoT integrated machines generate a lot of data. This can be used to schedule maintenance work in a better manner to avoid unexpected breakdowns and delays in production.
The above are a few areas where those who have attended an XLRI business analytics course can find valuable employment. With companies becoming more data-driven, job opportunities are only increasing every day. It is pertinent to see what one must do to make a switch to an analytics job.
Look For Opportunities In Your Firm – The best way to get into an analytics job is to look for such positions in your firm. Most mid-sized and large companies are realizing the importance of data-driven decisions. They are all improving their analytical capabilities. Anyone with expertise in analysis, statistics, reporting, or advanced Excel will be chosen to take up analytics. One may need to initially do their regular job and additionally work as an analytics expert. But this is the best way to get into this job.
Join An Analytics Course – It is not difficult even for working professionals to study something new nowadays. There are many online courses that can help people upskill to take up additional responsibilities. In this way, you can join a suitable course and acquire the skills needed to become an analytical expert. Learning something scientifically in a structured manner helps one become proficient in that subject. Doing a course while working will also prove to company bosses your willingness to put in extra effort to move forward.
Get Experience – A certificate stating you are good in analytics may not land a job immediately. Most companies look for experience in doing business analytics. Freshers who get certified in this subject can take the online route to execute freelance projects. There are many online hackathons, free projects, and analytical challenges by various platforms which can help you get the necessary experience in this subject. A mention of these on your resume will make it easy to enter careers in business analytics.
Clearing Common Misconceptions Regarding Business Analytics
Various misconceptions exist with regard to this science. Those who wish to take this up as their career must get these myths cleared to enable them to move forward with confidence.
- You must know programming to learn Business Analytics – Wrong. There is no need for a BA professional to know how to program. Most of the tools used in this profession are easy to use for most people. Being good in statistics will be a requirement though.
- Knowledge of advanced math is essential – One doesn’t need to know advanced math for building analytical models. What one learned till the 12th standard is more than sufficient to become a good business analytics expert.
- Learning tools and techniques is enough – Having knowledge of R, Python or SAS may be enough to get you an interview. But for becoming a good BA professional it is necessary to know the industry and have a good business sense.
- BA is about collecting and processing data – Though these are the main functions of a BA expert, his or her role is not limited to that. The idea behind any company appointing an analytics specialist is to use past data to get business solutions.
Techniques That Every BA Expert Must Master
Though various other languages are used in data analytics, SQL stands out because it is necessary for data retrieval. Extracting details from a source is a primary necessity for analytics. Without them, one cannot complete his or her duties as a BA professional. SQL or Structured Query Language is used for storing, extracting, and transforming data. It is used in all relational database management systems. Students of the XLRI business analytics course will learn much about this language.
This is a highly preferred language in data analytics because of its simplicity and fast learning curve. It is very commonly used for streamlining data sets that are large and complex. Its high readability allows engineers to save time because they need to type only a few lines. Its speed is most suitable for data analytics. Python’s flexibility makes it possible to build data models, create ML-powered algorithms, apply data mining and systematize data sets very easily and within a short time.
SAS or statistical analytics software is mainly used for retrieving, analyzing, and reporting statistical information. This program offers visualization through graphs. Different versions of this language also help in reporting machine learning and data mining. It comes with a user-friendly GUI. This software can go through large volumes of data very easily and quickly. There is a lot of online support available for this language. Even beginners can find it very easy to learn this program as there is extensive documentation and tutorials.
It is most known for its graphical capabilities resulting in better data visualization. R has access to various packages like GGPLot, GGVIS, Lattis, and RGIS all of which have excellent capabilities to present graphs. Being an open-source software and completely free to use, it is excellent for those starting to learn business analytics. With a number of new deep learning attributes, R is gaining popularity among data analytic experts. One drawback of this program is its steep learning curve which comes from having to know how to code.
Those who have embarked on careers in business analytics know very well that storytelling and good presentation skills are necessary for this profession. One must be able to present his or her findings in a manner that will be easy to understand and interesting for others. Tableau is highly popular as a data visualization tool. It can be easily integrated with other analytical languages. Another advantage is that any visualization created using this tool is not constrained by platform or screen size.
Most people probably associate Excel with listing numbers or making calculations. But for a data analyst, it is an excellent tool with a lot of analytical capabilities. Advanced Excel procedures like writing Macros and using VBA lookup are very popular for quick analytics of small datasets. At the start of a career as an analytics expert, one may probably receive his or her first sets of databases in Excel. This will be true especially if it is a lean company or a startup.
Apart from these technical skills, one also needs to develop other capabilities that help to become an expert in business analytics.
Critical Thinking – This is highly necessary because only someone who knows what to ask will be able to get answers from a large amount of available data. One must think like an analyst to uncover and process connections that are not evident at first look.
Communication – This is an essential skill for any professional, but more so for a business analytics expert because the results of an analysis must be conveyed clearly to stakeholders. Solutions for various problems must be presented in a convincing manner for others to accept and implement them.
Inquisitiveness – One can only find answers if one has questions. A good BA professional will have a natural curiosity to know things and learn from them. Only by this can these persons develop their skills and move forward.
Problem Solving – Companies hire business analytics not just to gather and analyze data. They expect these experts to provide solutions to various problems. You must develop talent to solve problems and help the organization move forward.
What is heartening to know for every business analytics aspirant is that a huge amount of data is generated and there is a shortage of experts to handle it. This creates a high demand for such professionals and a resultant increase in salaries. However, it is best to know that this field is not without its challenges. Anyone entering this career must be prepared to face and overcome them.