The domain of analytics starts with typical reporting. These are typically the MIS which people receive. All across the globe, this kind of MIS reporting happens on MS Excel and more evolved organizations would also pull data from databases using tools like SQL, MS Access and Oracle.
Post reporting, the next logical step is analyzing. The reason behind the unexpected changes and what the report suggests. One glance at the past trends and a reason for the changes is allotted and measures are taken for rectification. But all this, unfortunately, is hindsight and is all good for business planning.
With Analytics the purpose is to find out what has worked and what has not. This requires a business understanding and structured thinking. Dashboards come into the picture pun intended, these are interactive and the company gets real-time information on “what is happening now”.
This science of creating data models, dashboards and reports are called “Business Intelligence”. For limited data, Advanced Excel is used but for immense data, other tools like SAS visualization, Hyperion, Tableau are used. A person with strongly structured thinking and a very deep business sense would be able to draw a good inference of the data presented.
In all the industries today, data is effectively used to address business challenges. The goals for such an approach is basically to reduce costs, increase profitability and improve risk management. With the dashboards, one can identify the obstacles that are plaguing the business. Examples of these are seen in shipping companies where the task of logistics is extremely challenging.
Business Analytics is used to maximize performance overall maintenance of vehicles, reducing driver downtime and control customer dissatisfaction. Retail companies would analyze purchases made to inundate the customer with peculiar offers that suit his needs. Marketing companies use the data for better marketing decisions. For brand recognition, companies investigate customers buying and internet browsing habits.
These are the most popular ways business analytics is used to improve the business process to a better communication of your brand or for targeting relevant customers.