The modern world is a hive of gathering information and converting this mass of figures into something useful is of increasing importance.
It enables companies and organizations to make improvements in day-to-day procedures and shape decision-making, increasing profitability and efficiency. It has fast become an integral part of doing business.
This data collection and analysis is carried out to help companies better understand current markets, predict what might be coming in the future and compare scenarios to decide which ones offer the best results. Along with this, analysis of organizational practices from the IT to the financial department is also improving the way business is being done.
It has become an invaluable tool across practically every industry and the role pivotal to understanding the findings big data can offer is the business analyst – the person with the skills to turn meaningless numbers into meaningful information.
Already a much sought-after specialism, it looks certain that the need for this type of expertise is only going to continue to grow.
There are many reasons to enter this fascinating field, from job security to the accessibility of learning with an online business analytics masters. Here you can find out exactly what people are gaining from analytics, how you can get qualified, what career options there are right now, and how the future of this field is shaping up.
A brief history of business analytics
The first real steps into analytics came during the industrial revolution, which saw the monitoring of workers’ movements on a production line and making improvements to work stations and machinery based on these observations, leading to increased productivity.
As time went on, increasing amounts of information were being recorded and analyzed. However, it wasn’t until relatively recently the means to record information digitally came about, so everything was being recorded by hand. This limited the quantity of data being stored as well as the ability to share it with others.
Digital spreadsheets were the first step in simplifying the process, and since then, it has expanded exponentially.
Jump forward again to 2005 and the introduction of Google Analytics, and you are at the starting line for when gathering and analyzing information really took flight.
Bringing us up to the modern day, the quantity of information now being stored is staggering. Consider at the start of 2020; it was predicted as much as 59 zettabytes of data would be stored and shared. To put that in some context, one zettabyte is equal to one trillion gigabytes.
Today, qualifications such as an online business analytics masters are increasingly popular, reflecting that trend in data analysis.
What is business analytics?
There are vast amounts of information that have already been stored, along with limitless new data being collected every day. Every online move a person makes can now be tracked. Every click of the mouse or swipe of the touchscreen can be stored in vast info-banks in the cloud.
This data alone is virtually useless without analysis turning the numbers into facts that will shape decision-making. Enter the online business analytics masters who can do just that.
An analyst could, for instance, look at historic data and work out what patterns are occurring to understand the marketplace better. Or they could use information gathered on consumer habits to predict what might happen in the future.
They are also able to run tests analyzing multiple options. By looking at the figures collected during the tests, they can decide which option produces the optimal results.
For example, a company is looking to change their web layout but can’t be sure which of the two new designs will result in a better customer experience and the biggest increase in sales. By running beta testing, the data created during the tests can be analyzed to see which design offers the preferred outcomes.
Courses like the online business analytics masters discuss a host of different analytics areas covering the skills most industries are seeking.
Why is analyzing data so crucial?
As the amount of data being collected and stored continues to increase, it has become more and more important to find people with the skills to make sense of it. Hence the rise in popularity of the online business analytics masters.
The reason for this is because these data sets can reveal a huge amount about a business model, and the benefits this information can bring are numerous.
For example, if a company can more accurately define who their target market is and focus their marketing campaign purely on them, it should result in saving money on marketing to a wider audience while also producing higher sales from the campaign.
With analytics now determining company strategies, helping to increase revenue, and improving efficiency, it is effectively providing businesses with the opportunity to work smarter, not harder.
Across all industries, there are key ways analytics are being utilized. Examples include:
Location: Finding out where consumers are based can help pinpoint other potential customers. It is also vital in the transport industry for improving journey times.
Historic: Taking a look back on historic data offers insights into behaviors that can help analysts predict anything from who is likely to be interested in procuring a particular service to preventing fraudulent transactions.
Buying habits: Analyzing information on buying habits can help advertisers target their campaigns more accurately, offering a better return on investment.
Communications: The wording of communication can flag it up as either fraudulent or spam, thanks to the analysis of previous communications that fall into these categories. Reducing unimportant or suspect communications has been a huge timesaver in both personal and work communications.
Customer service: Data analytics can help identify bottlenecks in a CX funnel, for example, meaning inefficiency can be highlighted and rectified, resulting in better productivity and customer experience.
Industries utilizing analytics
There are very few industries left untouched by the revolution in big data and its analysis. While some have only begun to harness its capabilities, others have already transformed how they operate, thanks to the unique insights now freely available.
Here are some of those industries and the ways analysis of the figures has helped them to improve.
Transport: Governments now use analytics when planning new roads or road upgrades to improve traffic flow.
Retail: By collecting information on their customers’ habits, retailers are now able to target consumer-specific marketing such as mailshots and special offers, increasing interactions.
Agriculture: Information regarding farming practices and results means best practices can be fine-tuned, leading to better yields.
Entertainment: TV and music services recording data on what people are watching and listening to makes them better equipped to provide targeted recommendations to customers.
Banking: In the banking industry, it has led to improved security, with algorithms able to predict when cyber-attacks or fraudulent transactions are likely to happen.
Health: Health services are starting to use big data to personalize medication and treatments to improve patient outcomes and cut costs.
Sport: Analysis of team sports is helping professionals improve tactical decisions.
As you can see, the scope of business analytics is varied, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. An online business analytics masters could set you up for a career in any of these fields.
The market for jobs in this field is quite varied, and many of the skills needed for one position cross over to others too, so there is the opportunity to move around until you land your perfect occupation.
You can choose to be a good all-rounder or focus on specializing in one specific area. There are a wealth of career options whatever path you decide to take.
Here are just a few examples to demonstrate the range of options available. Taking an online business analytics masters puts you in the driving seat for taking your pick from any of these jobs.
For the tech person
If you have always shone when it comes to math, then becoming a data scientist might be ideal.
Due to the need for a solid knowledge of mathematics and technology, the salary for this job is one of the highest.
You will be largely responsible for using data to solve problems and develop ways to improve IT systems.
Similar roles include technical business analyst and IT business analyst.
For the consultant
If you like the idea of being independent of a single employer and working with a variety of different industries sounds like your perfect job, management analyst or contract business analyst as they are also known could be a great option.
You will be called into businesses that need help troubleshooting specific issues or want to improve efficiency in general, so you will need to be a “people person,” have excellent listening and communication skills, and be highly organized.
For the problem solver
Information security analysts help protect businesses from cyber-attacks, so they require knowledge in predicting where attacks may come from and then set about implementing solutions to protect the system accordingly.
Alternatively, a solutions architect will find solutions to specific issues rather than looking at a business or department as a whole and is ideal for someone who has a passion for problem-solving.
For the number cruncher
Unsurprisingly a financial business analyst deals specifically with making improvements within the financial department or within the financial sector itself.
Whichever specific roles you are attracted to, you will need to be good with numbers and also have a good head for logic. Add in an interest in improving systems and procedures, and you could have found your ideal career.
So if you are considering becoming a business analyst, the next step is looking into how you can get qualified. Most entry-level jobs will require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, but to start higher up the chain in a more senior position, you can choose to further your education within the field.
The good news is, remote courses mean you don’t have to consider quitting the day job and relocating to a different part of the country to get your foot on the analytics ladder.
Your current career or previous qualifications don’t need to hold you back either, as the online business analytics masters allows you to enroll from any previous field of expertise.
The course covers the three main areas of analytics, which are descriptive, prescriptive, and predictive, with the added advantage of personalizing your degree with industry-specific elective modules.
It’s worth getting some experience in this area too if you can as this will set you apart from other applicants when looking for a job. Keep an eye out for internships or contact businesses yourself to see if they can offer any work experience opportunities.
A few key facts from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics make for interesting reading if you are considering taking an online business analytics masters and making the move to the field of business analysis.
The median pay for an analyst in 2019 was $85,260 per year, the number of jobs in this area during the same year exceeded 875,000 and, due to businesses seeking more and more ways to reduce running costs and improve efficiencies, the projected employment growth to 2029 is 11 percent – that’s much faster than the average.
So it’s well paid, offers plenty of job opportunities, and is a growing source of employment. On top of that, it offers variety and the chance for career progression – what’s not to like?
If all of that hasn’t convinced you that it’s a great career move, you might be interested to learn that it also made it into the Forbes Top 10 Jobs For Work And Family Balance list stating the job of business analyst is less stressful than comparative employment and offers workers flexibility in their schedule too.
Choosing a career in this field would future-proof your job prospects while giving you the opportunity to work at the cutting edge of business advancements, carrying out a broad range of tasks and acting as a catalyst for change.
Those with a firm grasp on figures and who also have a knack for problem-solving would be particularly well suited to this area, so if you are someone thinking about what career to choose after you graduate or if you are considering a change of career, business analytics could be the right choice for you think about an online business analytics masters to get your career started.