A proper training programme is crucial for individuals who wish to make a career in Business Analytics.
You are surrounded by data. IBM has projected that every day the world generates 2.5 quintillion (1018) bytes of data – so much that 90% of the data in the world has been created in the last two years. Gartner, an American information technology and research firm projects that by 2015, 85% of the fortune 500 companies will be unable to exploit big data for competitive advantage and around 4.4 million jobs will be created around big data. Although the figures of employment in big data and big data analytics are quite encouraging, there is a strong need for analytical skills and resources because, as the volume of data piles up, managing and analyzing these data resources in optimal way becomes critical success factors in creating competitive advantage for the organizations.
A main obstacle in harnessing the power of big data analytics is the lack of skilled personnel and the data scientists. Since 2013, a strong need has emerged for analytics, big data, data mining and data science education. Many students, are unaware about these concepts and the job/business opportunities available. The following are a common questions which students usually ask about big data and business analytics.
Q. What is big data?
A. Data is everywhere, in every industry in the form of numbers, videos, images and text. Just imagine the following
- Every second, there are about 822 tweets on Twitter
- Every minute nearly 500 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded on Facebook
- Every hour Walmart handles more than 1 million customer transactions
- Every day consumers make around 15 million payments through PayPal.
Data comes from everywhere – though sensors, social media sites digital pictures, videos, purchasing transaction records, cell phones GPS to name a few. This is big data.
The internet is a convenient place for data collection. Every time we click on a link, or visit a website, we leave a digital footprint, thus allowing the marketers to assemble a complete picture of our browsing behavior. Every day Google mines millions of searches in an efficient way that it can even anticipate what we are searching. Such data if put to appropriate analysis can be used to improve the quality of life of the people. Companies can develop better products and offer them to its customers at affordable prices.
Q. What is Business Analytics?
A. Business analytics (BA) refers to the skills, technologies, practices for continuous iterative exploration and investigation of past business performance to gain insight and drive business planning. Business analytics focuses on developing new insights and understanding of business performance based on data and statistical methods. In contrast, business intelligence traditionally focuses on using a consistent set of metrics to both measure past performance and guide business planning, which is also based on data and statistical methods.
Business analytics makes extensive use of statistical analysis, including explanatory and predictive modeling, and fact-based management to drive decision making. It is therefore closely related to management science. Analytics may be used as input for human decisions or may drive fully automated decisions. Business intelligence is querying, reporting, online analytical processing (OLAP), and "alerts."
Q. What are the areas of application of Business Analytics?
A. You will find Business Analytics are used in almost every industry, be it healthcare, insurance, banking, fast moving consumer goods, retail, aviation, and shipping to name a few. With computing capabilities increasing to a new high, companies are able to collect, and process large amounts of data. Companies use analytics in the field of marketing, Human Resources, Production and Inventory, and Finance. OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) and OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) have become the buzzwords in the organizations. Many departments of both the state and the central government have started using Analytics in their day to day operations. As trusted analytically based decisions are needed across the organization, one would find application of Analytics in every department of an organization, be it marketing, human resources, operations, supply chain or finance.
Q. Is it worth doing a course in Business Analytics?
A. To many people, the word “Business Analytics” is new. Very few are aware about the opportunities that exist in Business Analytics. It is estimated that at least for the next decade, statisticians and analyst shall rule the business world. By 2016, about four million jobs will be created in Business Analytics in the world. So if you are looking for a nice career or an opportunity to set up your own company, here is the chance.
For any individual looking for a career in Business Analytics, it is important that he/she takes up a proper training programme. This shall help the individual to understand the right selection and application of technology that is available for data collection and analysis.
Many training programs, both short and long term are available ranging from a few days, months, up to two years. Before the selection of the training program, you should investigate about the software platform on which the training is provided. For instance SAS is one of the most popular software. If you get trained on SAS, there can be good opportunities for you as it is widely used by many companies across the world. Other technologies available are IBM Cognos, R programming, Hadoop for Big Data etc.
Q. Who should do this course?
A. Any graduate who is good at numbers having a mathematical/statistical background can find this career as quite interesting. Those individuals who do not have any exposure to mathematics/statistics can take up a two year full time program where he/she shall be taught these subjects.
Dr. Sachin Deshmukh
Area Chairperson – Business Analytics
Vivekanand Education Society Institute of Management Studies & Research