Business analytics as we know it today may be few decades old. The advancements in the field of computer technology especially IT and cloud computing has brought about significant changes in the field of analytics in the last 40 years or so. Did you know something similar to predictive analytics may have existed as early as the times of ancient Rome? Yes, you read it right! Experts in the field of analytics state funeral insurance offered to Roman citizens back then was one of the forms of predictive analytics that we see in modern times. There are other experts who mark the birth of business analytics to the industrial age, when Henry Ford used to measure the time taken to produce each component in his product lines back in the 19th century. Irrespective of differences in the views related to the origin, everyone agrees that some form of analytics of data existed in the age before the invention of computers.
Today, business analytics plays a vital role in all areas of business. Globalization has led to rise in competition and it has become necessary for companies to be customer centric, predictive and highly efficient in order to survive and grow in the market. The development in the field of big data and cloud computing and the growth of social media has pressed on the need for sophisticated analytical methods to help in crucial decision making process in every area of business. The rise in importance of the subject has made business analytics a specialization in undergraduate and post-graduate programs offered many educational institutes in India.
How Business Analytics Impacts the Business Today?
There was a time when data related to business was recorded in papers. Today, there are remote servers to handle the bulk data. The best part is that data can be accessed and utilized easily whenever and wherever needed. The development of this technology contributed greatly to advancement in business analytics. Businesses view data differently today. The rational information one can derive by utilizing data makes it one of the most valuable assets of the business. Business analysts or analytical tools use the data to find patterns and apply statistical and quantitative methods to come out with insights which can predict future outcome and help management heads make informed decisions. This can give the business a competitive edge.
Today, everything outside the company (be it picking the group of most profitable potential consumers from a lot to running targeted ad campaigns) and everything inside an organization (choosing the right product line for manufacturing a particular product efficiently to cost optimization for an operation), can be done effectively with the support of business analytics process. Finance team uses business analytics to estimate cost, study external factors that can affect business and try to recommend cost effective solutions to management team. Sales team may make use of social media and other platforms to collect data related to consumers and study their behavior in order to suggest product or service changes. Production team may use analytical methods for optimization of time and improving efficiency of manufacturing process.
Many multi-national companies extensively use analytical methods on a day-to-day basis in retail, e-commerce, banking, manufacturing and many other sectors. Amazon, Netflix and Wal-Mart are few of the companies who are known for using data extensively for their decision making process. On the other-side, software companies are developing products that can help businesses analyze data and come out with results that can support in decision making. With data storage and retrieval becoming more sophisticated with time and software products available for real-time data analysis, businesses may have to adapt to changes and work towards developing business intelligence in order to get closer to consumers and grow in the market.
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