In this technological age, we have an increasing amount of data available to us on the performance of our businesses. We can generate figures describing our typical client, their location, age, spending power. Analysed correctly, this online data can give us insight into aspects of the business we could only guess at before. It can allow us to target our marketing efforts and increase the amount of revenue we generate as a result. It allows us to identify our market and diversify. In short, it provides us with actionable insights at limited cost.
Image Source: Bob Mical
So what is it?
Data analytics is exactly what it sounds like. It is the analysis of data to identify trends and performance outcomes. In recent years, the prevalence of online data sources – social media and search engines – have driven a huge uptake in this field. Now, anyone with a website can quickly and easily gather information on their clients. Where they land from, how often a certain link generates a sale, and just about anything else there is to learn from an individual’s interaction with a website. Some services even provide easy to read visual interpretations of the data.
Of course, the field existed long before it was available via the internet. Traditionally, business analytics has utilised statistical models, quantitative measures and predictive modelling. These tools were applied to performance data and used to set targets for anything from the entire business to specific services. That required statisticians to model and interpret the data, as well as programmes capable of running complex models quickly. It needed executives capable of reading the outputs and translating them into objects and strategies. What the internet has done is to make these tools available to the independent trader, the small business and even the amateur blogger. Gone are the days when the output was indecipherable to anyone without a Masters in stats; now users get a break down in the form of pie charts and bar graphs.
As with anything, there are scales to the software. Small businesses implementing free, readily available analytics software, might well gain some benefit. However, larger companies with more traffic and capital ought to be investing in more involved aspects of the technology. Business analytics is one of the fastest growing cloud technologies out there at the moment. Which shows just how far it has come. Companies don’t need to keep statisticians on staff anymore. This cloud based analytics software allows for the remote positioning of all the tools businesses need to identify actionable outcomes from data. It categorises it and makes it available to users via a web browser. It blends all aspects of the field to produce easy to read information that can be used to overcome problems, increase revenue, target new markets and grow the business.
In this technological age data can be generated quickly and cheaply, traded readily and analysed easily. The answer to the question ‘what is data analytics’, then, is a simple one. Because data analytics in the modern world is everything.