In every business, feedback is crucial to understanding the specific buying habits of consumers. Data is the information that allows business owners to convert numbers into habits that give insight into buying practices. An understanding of the data can drive business decisions for the immediate time and for the future.
However, many businesses don’t have the data they need or can’t understand what the data means. And that is where a data analyst comes in to help. A data analyst is an essential part of a team that improves business performance and makes more accurate decisions possible.
In this post, we will be highlighting some ways data analytics can be a useful tool for driving business success. And if you are thinking of pursuing a career path in this field, the post will show you some important processes for starting the journey.
The Impact of Data Analytics Today
Every day, companies generate vast amounts of data that is useful for many reasons. However, the raw data by itself does nothing to help them understand consumer habits and buying trends. The data must be converted into usable information that informs business decision-makers as they make choices that drive the company.
That is where data analytics comes into the scene. These days, businesses across the world evaluate large subsets of data to determine trends, patterns, and other vital information that allows them to better meet their customers’ needs.
The role of a data analytics professional is to locate unknown trends and demonstrate correlations so that companies can make the most accurate predictions. They simply help the company make decisions that produce amazing results based on the data available to them.
The Data Analysis Process
Data analytics follows a series of steps that generate concrete information on consumer buying habits. This information can then drive strategic business decisions aimed at improving the customer experience.
#1: Identifying the problem
The first step is to understand the problem. This can be one main problem or a series of small problems. For example, many online businesses need to understand what causes buyers to return items so that they can minimize returns.
Another example is learning how to reduce production costs without creating an inferior product. Another is finding ways to expand the customer base with existing resources.
#2: Collecting the data
Transactional business data and customer details give important information on past consumer habits. Using this information in a meaningful way can positively shape future business decisions.
Data can come from customer response management systems, marketing automation tools, manufacturing software, and other sources. Other data sources can be Google Trends, social media reviews, Amazon buying habits, and other similar sources. This data shows the raw habits of consumers who are pertinent to a business.
#3: Cleaning the data
Once the data is collected and complete, the next process is removing any data that does not contribute to providing information that you want to know. Not all data is good or useful for your particular purposes, so it must be removed.
U necessary, incomplete, incongruous, and duplicated information will need to be removed. Some estimates show that almost 80% of a data analyst’s time is spent on cleaning data to produce useful information.
#4: Performing data analysis
Analyzing the data can take several forms. However, the goals of any data analysis follow the same general guidelines:
- To identify when a consumer makes the next purchase.
- To determine how long product delivery takes.
- To understand the types of products consumers are buying.
- To predict how this will impact sales in the next quarter.
- To minimize returns and order cancellations.
- To determine the shortest delivery route.
Some ways to analyze data include through data mining, data visualization software, and utilizing predictive analysis.
#5: Interpreting the data
This is where data analysis provides benefits for a business. Producing concrete options for a company to follow to improve a process or expedite a change is the goal of data analysis. In this stage, many data analysts work directly with business leaders to determine possible future goals and routes.
Becoming a Professional Data Analyst
If this particular application of technology interests you, becoming a data analytics professional is an area of high growth due to the fact that companies have so much information and data but not enough people with skills to convert the data to actionable business goals.
If you want to learn how data analytics helps business managers, then a Master of Science in Business Analytics from St. Bonaventure University could be the right path for you.
You can learn in-demand skills such as business analytics tools, modern programming languages, and business analytics software to expand your data analytics skills for many business leadership positions.
This flexible online master’s degree allows you to continue working in your current field as you complete the requirements. You can customize your degree to your fields of interest, including cybersecurity, finance, marketing, and more.
Career Paths in Data Analytics
Every day, data is being generated that can improve many aspects of a business. As a data analyst, your role will be to interpret the data into an understandable format for business leaders to use as a guideline for changes that can lead to desired outcomes.
Human resources data analyst
A human resources data analyst evaluates data from a variety of sources, including payroll, employee surveys, exit interviews, attendance records, and other sources to find patterns of employee resignations. This is useful information as companies are often motivated to learn how to retain employees and attract new talent.
Cybersecurity data analyst
Cybersecurity and digital threats are part of the technology landscape. At the same time, fraud and account takeovers are becoming more rampant. Data analysts work as part of cybersecurity to mitigate threats and risks to businesses by protecting the networks and systems of a business from attacks.
More than ever before, embedding data analytics into the technology of companies is essential to identify potential risks, monitor digital activity, and report threats.
Your role in understanding the IT structure of a company is critical to enhancing digital security. Anticipating cyber-attacks, protecting against password compromises, and monitoring vulnerability software are part of your daily tasks. You will also assess the strength of the networks and continually monitor for weaknesses.
Manufacturing operational efficiency
Manufacturing plants need efficient workflows to produce products that are shipped to various locations for sale and other needs. Data analysts have the opportunity to help manufacturing executives analyze workflows and improve processes.
Understanding the data helps them learn if the manufacturing processes are burdensome, need automation, or drain the budget. Data can also be used to simplify or eliminate unnecessary tasks in the manufacturing process.
Tracking consumer behavior for a sales company
Enhanced customer service depends on a robust data analytics strategy that focuses on a better customer experience and an easy user experience. Other important diagnostics are customer attitudes, ongoing purchasing behaviors, and digital behaviors.
Data derived from purchases, site visits, and other metrics can allow company leaders to predict customer satisfaction, further personalize experiences, and directly deliver new products that customers will love.
Monitoring market trends can lend crucial information for strategic product launches that reach customers at the optimal time. Data can show companies that products are no longer engaging with customers and where the new trends are.
As a financial data analyst, you focus on compiling, analyzing, and organizing an organization’s financial information. You create queries and conduct analysis to create reports for company shareholders to make essential decisions regarding the company goals and strategies.
Market research analyst
As part of a market research company, you study consumers’ buying habits and use this data to help various companies make strategic business decisions about their products.
Acting as the marketing department or in tandem with an internal marketing department, your data helps sales companies determine what consumers are buying, how often they are buying, and at what price they purchase.
The goal is to help companies find a competitive advantage over their competitors by understanding the consumers better. You can help them find ways into previously untapped markets to expand their brand to new buyers.
Healthcare data analytics
While you might not think of patients as consumers, they are healthcare consumers, and data analytics is a valuable tool for healthcare practitioners and medical facilities.
Data analysis helps healthcare organizations predict disease and illness outbreaks, assess the success of practitioners, and detect anomalies in scans, among other vital applications.
Data derived from healthcare can help providers prevent readmissions, lower insurance costs, and produce better patient outcomes and experiences. Information gleaned from data can identify risk factors for drug dependence and help medical providers make the best decisions for patients.
It is vital to manage the health of various populations by identifying vulnerable patients. Once identified, healthcare providers can offer preventive care that improves patients’ lives and health outcomes.
Taking raw data and translating it into ways to prevent illnesses and diseases is a practical way to aid entire populations.