Analytics for the Small Business

Analytics is about looking for patterns in data to help answer questions. Most businesses use analytics to help ensure more data-driven decision-making.

No matter the size, scale or scope, every business generates a wealth of business data. Every business has an opportunity to uses that data to drive more intelligent decisions.

The primary people responsible for conducting analytics on the massive amounts of data we have today are analysts. Analysts are skilled in using various technologies and methodologies to identify, inventory and integrate large amounts of data quickly.

The term analytics can often be used interchangeably with statistics and data science. What separates analytics from disciplines like statistics and data science is generally the speed of the analysis and the focus on solving business problems.

The most common form of analytics is business analytics that are generally used by owners, senior leaders and decision-makers to investigate problems, validate assumptions and to guide strategic planning. As a generalist, business analysts can help in a number of areas of the business.

Business analysts are therefore the most common type of analyst, especially in a small business. If you do a job search on the title analyst, as many as half the posting will likely be business analysts. However, analytics can be used in an almost limitless number of business functions in specific areas like HR, recruitment, marketing, finance, and so on. Each one can have its very own analyst.

Analysts have been around a long time, but recent technological advances have both allowed us to produce and capture more data as well as give us the ability to analyze immense data sets quickly. Thus we are amidst a huge boom in the applications of analytics and the need for analytics talent across the globe. Analytics is something just about every business leader is trying to figure out how to use more effectively in their business. To add to our challenge, the demand for good analysts is booming just as fast as the explosion in big data.

As a result, there is a huge shortage of people who are skilled in working with data to answer questions and solve problems. This is why you have seen the number of analyst job postings increasing at an amazing rate. In the first few chapters of the book we will discuss the quickening demand for analytics talent and why it is so hard to find good analysts, especially at the small business level.

If you are a business leader, manager, owner, and/or executive are not actively trying to surround yourself with analysts and if you are not infusing an analytics centric culture in your business, you will most likely soon see your business fail.

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A small business needs analysts to make sense of big data, manage the storage of the data, and know when to use which of the 3 types of analytics (descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive). To be effective, analysts need to have business intelligence tools to create data visualizations and build business dashboards.

If you need an analyst or want to be trained in analytics, connect with me and I can show you how to get started.

Small Business Analytics – The field of small business analytics is just starting to blossom as companies are looking for more data-driven decision-making to prosper in the age of Big Data. DMAIPH is at the fore front of providing analytics training, consulting and outsourcing options to small businesses. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to set up a free consultation on how to get more analytics in your small business.

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Big Data Analytics: Using Business Intelligence Tools – 7/11/17 in Ortigas

A good analyst uses Business Intelligence Tools like Batman uses devices stored in his utility belt.

Per Wikipedia, business intelligence (BI) tools are “a type of application software designed to retrieve, analyze, transform and report data for business intelligence. The applications generally read data that have been previously stored, often, though not necessarily, in a data warehouse or data mart.”

Knowing what business intelligence tool to employ to what data set in order to conduct analysis and present your findings requires a thorough understanding of what tools are available and what they can do.

The key general categories of business intelligence applications include:

  • Spreadsheets
  • Reporting and querying software: applications that extract, sort, summarize, and present selected data
  • Online analytical processing (OLAP)
  • Digital dashboards
  • Data mining
  • Process visualization
  • Data warehousing

By far the most common business intelligence tool used is MS Excel. Having at least a intermediate masterly of Excel is a good start in understanding how business intelligence tools work.

Learning to run formulas, insert pivot tables and produce simple visualizations using charts and graphs give a foundation in how to take data and do something with it to inspire analysis.

Using Excel also teaches you how data needs to be structured, formatted and managed. You can’t run even basic analysis activities if your data is not encoded in a way that your tools can make sense of.

Once you have mastered the use of Excel then the logical next step is using BI tools that pull data from Excel. For example, Tableau is a BI tool that can extract data from Excel to build more powerful data analysis and visualizations.

BI tools can also be used to mine data from large data storage systems like data warehouses, data lakes and data marts. Again, understanding how data is structured in important. Knowing how queries are written (for example in SQL) to extract data is important.

If you are looking to get a better understanding of what tools you should be using to analysis the data in your business, you can join my next training seminar (July 11, 2017) in Ortigas.

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Analytics Training – DMAIPH offers a wide range of analytics centric training solutions for professionals and students via public, in-house, on-site, and academic settings. We tailor each training event to meet the unique needs of the audience. If you need empowerment and skills enhancement to optimize the use of analytics in your organization, we are here to help. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to set up a free consultation on which of our DMAIPH analytics training solutions is best for you.