Business Intelligence

We live in an era of information. Today, every organization across the world thrives on is the single most crucial asset called data. What is intriguing is that a huge volume of data is collected across organizations from various sources in zillion different forms at just the blink of an eye. The ability to mine this data and use the right set of statistical and quantitative tools to analyze it is imperative for the success of a business . It is here that business analytics come into picture . Business analytics refers to the investigation and analysis of past business performances in order to gain insights and devise business plans for the growth of a company.

Business analytics points out that the term business intelligence came into existence in the early 90s though the science has been in existence from the days of mathematics. Business intelligence involves collecting data, researching and summarizing it to derive meaningful information to make decisions. The advancement of this science by using mathematical models and simulations given to different conditions and changes was the next step, which came to be called analytics a term that was called in 90s.

Business analytics encompasses the effective usage of quantitative tools, techniques and personnel in order to reduce cost, gain market share, improve production etc. It is a sophisticated and structured method adopted by organizations to make more profit

The key consumer of analytics is the business user, a person whose job is not directly related to analytics per se (e.g. a merchandiser , marketers salesperson )but who typically must use analytical tools to improve the results of a business process.

Business analytics can be applied to all key areas of a business including financial management, customer relationship, supply chain marketing etc.

Business analytics makes extensive use of data, statistical and quantitative analysis, explanatory analysis and predictive modeling and fact based management to drive decision making. Analytics answers key questions like why is this happening, what if these trends continue, what will happen next (predict), what is the best that can happen (optimize).

Analytical analysis:

In the large organizations analytics has replaced intuition as the best way to answer questions about what markets to pursue, how to project price offerings and how to identify where operations can be made more efficient in response to cost and environmental constraints. To do this companies are using effective toolsets, governance and management practices. They are setting up centers of competence where their best and brightest analytics teams constantly innovate around a single view of the business.

In finance we see people look at past and present performance of stocks to decide on how and where to invest. In telecom, companies are finding out consumers usage pattern to decide the most attractive tariffs. In retail the purchase patterns among various income groups are being analyzed to be able to target products better etc. Business analysts can be paid anywhere between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 10 lakhs per annum.

However large corporates like ICICI, HDFC, Vodafone, Reliance, Retail etc have now set in house analytics team and several other organizations are realizing the need to have analysts in the company.

As of now, there are over 5,000 professionals in this field in India. With the country supplying business analytics capabilities to huge MNCs at the best possible performance to cost ratio, the scope for a professional in this field is phenomenal.

A degree in statistics and mathematics followed by an MBA is an ideal qualification for aspiring business analysts. Although there are no fulltime programs in business analytics it is being integrated in to the MBA curriculum across several B school. At the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and several other B schools, business data analysis and business intelligence is interspersed in the PGPM curriculum. IIM Ahemdabad has Statistics Decision Making and Operations Management as part of its PGPM course. That apart advanced Statistics and Data Analysis are a part of its Management Development Programs IIM Kozhikode offers a certificate programs.

We also have a course in Data Analysis and Intelligent Business for our executive management program. Many B schools train students in SAS and SPSS (leading software in statistics and analytics) as a part of their curriculum . The MBA program in NIT Trichy has eight electives in business analytics.

Since business analytics is integral to every industry, it cannot be taught in isolation. Few institutions such as International Institute of business analysis and international institute of learning both in the US provide certificate programs in business analytics for both freshers and working professionals.

A good analytical and logical mindset, high level of quantitative and statistical knowledge and an understanding of business processes and outcomes are key skill sets required in this field. Being a technology dependent field, knowledge of software like SAS, VBA and SPSS and proficiency in programming languages is helpful. A good mathematical foundation is imperative in this field.