Data – it’s everywhere. From the complexities of digital advertising, to the cacophony of sensors and devices that provide data on industries such as transport, telecommunications and consumer spending, data presents both an opportunity and a burden on modern enterprises.
It can be difficult to understand how data as an object can provide value to a business – however, for a business to succeed in today’s fast paced economy, it is critical that is able to be used, interpreted and transformed into analytical insights. Let’s explore the role of analytics in the modern workforce – what it can potentially encompass, and how it can be used to enhance business operations.
What is Analytics in Business?
Analytics, as a word, is described as the ‘systematic computational analysis of data or statistics’. In a business environment, analytics involves the use of data and statistics to analyse, review and improve business activities.
At a basic level, this may involve the simple collection and subsequent usage of data to improve business operations. For example, a loyalty card in a retail store may allow a marketing team to gather a detailed understanding of customer preferences, spending history, and interests. With consumers holding an average of 3.9 memberships per person in 2016, that’s a lot of data for a business to potentially gather and work with.
Analytics can be used to improve business operations. Two common applications of this include the role of business analysts and data scientists in the workplace. Business analysts may use internal company data to provide recommendations on improving business operations, while data scientists use statistical methodology and advanced analytics methods such as machine learning to conduct tests on live data.
Why is Analytics in High Demand?
Simply put, analytics is in high demand as data gets faster, larger and more diverse. Known as the 3 Vs of big data, data presents a number of problems for businesses, including:
- Variety – adapting to an increasing number of variable datasources – as more data sources come online, analytics teams have to adapt to new and variable data sources.
- Volume – handling an ever increasing amount of data being generated – causing increasing storage costs for business.
- Velocity – dealing with the increased technology demands to analyse big data sources – such as increasing computational costs.
As a result of the issues that face data, it’s become imperative for businesses to hire a growing number of analysts and professionals that are able to leverage data to benefit businesses.
Who Uses Analytics in Business Operations?
Ultimately, the end users of analysis in business operations can vary wildly. In fact, this often depends on how data literate an organisation is – particularly, having the ability to understand, share useful insights and have meaningful discussion about data. If a business is not data literate, data stakeholders may not be able to communicate data procedure and process to other employees in an organisation.
Conversely, a highly data literate team can enable almost all employees in a data organisation to use data. From the corporate boardroom, to new employees, potentially every employee in an organisation can use analytics in one form or another as a part of their daily duties.
Where is Analytics Used in Business?
While analytics can seem like it’s restricted to the field of computers and mathematical application, in reality, it can be applied in many different situations. As a result, it forms an essential part of operations across a wide variety of fields, from logistics, to mining, to retail.
For example, global shipping firm FedEx uses a range of data tools, and a significant team of analysts and data professionals to track, model, and enhance shipping performance. It may not seem like a significant event, when you receive a package in the post the next day, however, in the background, the amassed learnings of analytical review and data science are helping to make shipping a little more efficient, for the more than half a billion package movements that are scanned on FedEx’s network annually.
How Could A Career in Analytics Benefit Me?
A career in analytics can be beneficial – with a wide range of roles available, potential jobseekers can find roles across all industries. Even a simple search for analytics roles on leading jobseeker site Seek reveals more than five thousand open positions available.
No matter your interest, there’s a range of positions available, across industries from transport, government and healthcare to name a few. With the potential to earn an above average salary, there’s never been a better time to explore a career in analytics.
There are a variety of qualifications available for the interested analyst – as well a variety of free websites with large datasets to practice your emerging data skills on. If you’re looking to pursue a career in analytics, consider speaking to a career counsellor and explore your options today.