Predicting the future with analytics
Professor Mohamed Salem is the president of the University of Wollongong in Dubai
Analytics is one of the most critical tools in today’s marketplace. With the sophistication and use of technology reaching new heights and a large percentage of the world’s population connected to the internet, there is no denying the incredible potential analytics now offers – in business, industry and education.
Business analytics is the process of making sense of gathered data, measuring business performance, and producing valuable conclusions to help companies make informed decisions. Simply put, business analytics enables companies to know the wants and needs of their customers – one reason why it is such a crucial field.
The digital transformation of several industries combined with the growing investment in analytics during the current Covid-19 pandemic are set to lead the surge in the uptake for analytics across organisations of all sizes.
With the pandemic impacting countries negatively, data analytics is playing a significant role in contact tracing, vaccine distribution and in the development of healthcare solutions. Looking ahead, analytics will continue to help us understand the scale of the pandemic by providing key insights based on massive amounts of data to forecast ongoing or expected Covid-19 disruptions.
According to Statista, the global big data and business analytics market was valued at $168.8 billion in 2018 and is forecast to grow to $274.3 billion by 2022, at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.2 per cent. Across several industries, organisations are generating vast amounts of data, which in turn, has increased the demand for a new breed of professionals capable of interpreting and analysing that data.
On a global scale, business analytics graduates have promising career opportunities in multiple sectors – as a job that cannot be automated, companies need experts in this field to implement innovative new processes and drive forward their business strategies.
Analysing data allows a better understanding of both the business and the industry in which it operates, providing organisations with the data to best make important business decisions. Specifically, it allows a company to know where it stands in the industry and provides it with the necessary clarity to develop effective future-focused strategies.
In failing to analyse data, companies today may find it difficult to remain competitive and make important decisions to ensure positive results and reduce inefficiencies.
As the business landscape continues to evolve, it is vital that companies remain competitive through staying up to date on the latest industry trends and best practices. Through business analytics, a company can operate efficiently and plan for growth. Analytics also provides an organisation with insight into its customer behaviour, needs, and pain points in addition to shaping its understanding of the public perception of its brand.
Business analytics career paths
Quantitative analysts or ‘quants’ as they are sometimes called, are among the most sought-after professionals in the financial industry today. Quants use data modelling to help manage risks and to support investment decisions, facilitating more reliable and consistent results.
People who choose this career path often have backgrounds in mathematics, science, computer science, or engineering. Employers today are looking less for people with traditional business analytics skills and more for those with an aptitude for scientific thinking as the ability to work with mathematical models to achieve concrete results outweighs other considerations.
Yet another in-demand professional today is a data analyst who analyse company and industry data to find value and opportunities. Organisations now require data analysts more than ever, given their growing need to make data-driven decisions. They are integral to businesses as they organise and sort large amounts of data to answer specific questions, solve problems, and make forecasts.
Market Research is a critical component for a business to understand market trends, as well as its customer needs, and its competitors. Market research analysts makes sense of data and provide a business with all the necessary insights to make better informed business decisions. They play a vital role in helping businesses remain competitive in the market through these well-researched decisions. A Market Research Analyst collects and assimilates data from diverse sources, analyses and interprets the data, and may provide recommendations based on the findings.
As we continue to navigate the new normal, it is clear that data and analytics will have an impact on our everyday lives for the foreseeable future. Whether this data will be used to evaluate campaigns, grow sales or improve financial efficiency, analytics is set to continue helping us to uncover important insights that support us in marching forward.