Businesses have become increasingly adept at using software to collect data from customers as they browse the internet, making “big data” a major buzzword in the business world. However, it is crucial to understand what exactly big data is and the potential role it can play in business development. This is where a big data analyst comes in. “What is a big data analyst?” you ask? Let’s find out.
First, we’ll break down what you need to know about this field and its importance in directing organizations.
What Is Big Data Analytics?
Big data refers to the vast amount of data available about consumer interests and how people interact with businesses. Big data analytics, therefore, refers to the ways organizations can use this information to better understand their customers, creating more personalized interactions for their target audience and improving their existing customers’ experiences.
This field has become increasingly important, with business managers just starting to see the wealth of information that big data can offer.
Why Is Big Data Important?
When businesses have access to big data and the business intelligence it provides, they can make significantly better decisions about everything from how to reach their customers to when they should reorder supplies for their products.
Informed decision-making: Businesses will have access to the insight and information they need to make decisions about the direction of the company, how to invest business profits, and what the future might bring so that they can capitalize on potential opportunities. Data science can help professionals understand what happened in the past and use that to anticipate what may happen soon and how to prepare.
Increased operational efficiency: With data, there will be clear tracking regarding how operational projects proceed, including who managed what tasks and how well the project was completed. Professionals will have access to what they need and when they need it, making it easier to raise the standards of operational efficiency.
Competitive advantage: With big analytics, businesses can also track their competitors’ performance. It’s possible to analyze their websites and campaigns and collect information about where they excel and where you fall short, helping you identify areas for improvement.
Development of new business models: With big data, businesses can maximize their efficiency across their entire business model. They can look at data regarding how teams work together most effectively, how to manage interdepartmental cooperation, and even what competitors do. All this insight can help manage expectations and ensure that the selected business model works optimally for your business.
The Role of a Data Analyst in Business
A data analyst helps to keep everyone on track. They have the insights the company needs across the entire spectrum, from customer insights to how to keep everyone working together well. We have identified five key responsibilities that data analysts should be able to easily manage with an MBA in data analytics or business analytics.
1. Data Collection and Management
Data analysts can help manage the data collection processes at their organization. This calls for professionals who know the types of key performance indicators, or KPIs, that will provide the most relevant insight into the success and shortcomings of the organization. They can then use this insight to set up systems to collect the necessary information so the business has what it needs to serve customer needs and keep the company profitable.
2. Data Analysis
Big data analysts will also handle the responsibilities of data analysis, much as the name implies. In this role, they will combine all the data they have collected and use various mathematical systems to determine what they can learn from it. They can gain information about how customers interact with the organization, how well teams are functioning within the company, and even where the business can streamline operations.
The data analyst will need to determine what data will provide them with these valuable insights. They will also need to track how the data shifts over time.
3. Reporting and Visualization
Not only does the data analyst need to determine how the business performs and where it can improve, but they also need to share these insights with others in the organization.
This responsibility calls for understanding how to summarize findings and convert their methodologies into language that everyone can understand. For example, appealing visuals like graphs and charts can make data easier for everyone to grasp quickly. When data professionals are able to communicate their findings effectively, it becomes easier to implement their proposed shifts and changes, as everyone understands why these changes will be advantageous to the organization.
4. Predictive Analysis and Strategy Development
Data can also help businesses run predictive analysis, which will help with strategy development. Knowing how the business has performed in the past, and all the different factors that impacted performance, can help data professionals see how the business will likely perform in the future.
These insights can help the business create a strategy in anticipation of these changes, potentially reducing or entirely avoiding any negative outcomes.
Effective strategic planning also ensures that the organization uses its resources wisely. For example, if a business regularly experiences an increase in sales at a particular time of year, then organizing staff to accommodate this shift can help maximize opportunities and avoid delays.
5. Data Governance and Quality Control
With the enormous amount of data that a business can collect, not all the information is equal. Data analysts also need to make sure that the data they collect is relevant and timely to the organization. They also need to make sure they effectively sort through any ‘noise’ that might confuse the analyses they want to run. For instance, consider a business redesigning its website. If the analysts forget to filter out website visits that come from within the organization—as in all the people involved with the redesign visit the website— they might gain inaccurate impressions about the popularity of their new site design.
The Future of Big Data in Business
Businesses have only just started to grasp the full potential of what data can do for organizations. When used correctly, data can provide incredible insight into how people interact with the business and what customers want to see from companies. All this information can help make businesses more effective. Here are just a few ways data will likely play a growing role in business development in the future.
Proliferation of Data Sources
Although recent regulations in various regions have restricted how businesses can collect and track customers online, businesses still have ample opportunities to learn more about their target audiences. Companies continue to find creative new ways to collect data, which will increase the reach of data analytics.
Rise of Real-Time Analytics
Data analysts will also have an increasing ability to track customers in real-time, seeing how they engage with content in the moment and encouraging them to engage further with the business. For example, a business could send out a trigger email when customers visit a pricing page or start a conversation with a sales rep when someone finishes a product demo. Knowing what customers do in real-time and what interests them the most at that time will help boost personal engagement.
AI and Machine Learning Integration
AI and machine learning integration will help businesses use customer data to provide personalized interactions. For example, chatbots that incorporate data about common customer questions can improve response times. Automated emails and messages that reflect likely customer intentions can also attract customers. The potential to respond in real-time to customers can provide great sales opportunities.
Increased Use of Predictive Analytics
Predictive analytics can help businesses use past customer behavior and trends to determine what will likely happen in the future. This insight can help businesses plan marketing campaigns, structure email funnels, and interact with customers.
Personalized Customer Experiences
Customers today love personalized experiences. They want to know that they are more than just a number to the businesses they buy from. McKinsey found that 76% of customers are more likely to buy from brands that personalize their messages. With data, businesses can better predict what customers care about, creating more individualized experiences.
MBA in Business Analytics: Preparing for the Future of Business
Earning an MBA with a specialization in business analytics provides professionals with the opportunity to develop the technical skills they need to capitalize on the potential of big data in business.Earning a degree at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Gary W. Rollins College of Business means students can decide if they would rather work toward their business analytics program online or in person, perfect for anyone working a job or juggling family responsibilities. Learn more about what a business analytics MBA from UTC could do for your career advancement.