What to Know About Business Analytics
Drew Allen

Business analytics is a relatively new name for a group of specialties that have been around for many years. However, with recent advances in digital and IT sciences, there has been a growing interest among academics and professionals in the subject. If the terminology or practice of it is unfamiliar to you, a great place to begin is by learning a handful of essential information.

There's no better way of gaining a fundamental understanding of what the topic is all about. Step one is realizing that success in the field consists of a three-part recipe that offers a special insight into multiple areas of commercial operations. Next, it's helpful to become acquainted with one of the most common forms of modern analysis, which is related to GPU data spreadsheets. Review the following points to build your knowledge base and find out more about the pros and cons, as well as the three different styles of approach within the field.

Success is a Three-Part Equation

Success can be aptly compared to what happens in a restaurant's kitchen. Both situations rely on a three-part formula for overall success. At any five-star bistro, the owners start with high-quality food and ingredients. That's part one. The second piece of the puzzle is a talented chef who knows how to manipulate all those ingredients and produce excellent cuisine. Finally, someone has to plan the menu, so customers get nutritious, good-tasting fare. You can't leave it up to the cook to design menus. In the world of business analytics, the three puzzle pieces are reliable information, workers who understand how to use that information in the right way, and managers or supervisors who can leverage the resulting data to make a company more successful.

Big Data Spreadsheets Are a Prime Example

The vast majority of entrepreneurs and everyday office workers use at least one kind of spreadsheet to do their jobs. A major advantage of modern analytics is related to the parallel processing of data through the use of GPU-based spreadsheets. These faster, more efficient applications offer a much larger scale of calculating ability and greater speed at the same time. Because they utilize the machine's GPU (graphics processing unit), the newest spreadsheets deliver a significant boost of productivity over the former sheets that relied on CPUs alone. Big data apps like GPU spreadsheets are a typical result of recent advances in technology for office environments.

Managers Use Three Kinds of Business Analytics

The three core functions are to track essential parameters in order to understand the current state of a company's general health, to make predictions about future performance based on existing information, and to make recommendations about possible changes based upon information gathered from the first two functions. Except for high-level managers and owners, most who work in the field focus on just one of the three areas: descriptive, predictive, or prescriptive.

There are Pitfalls and Drawbacks

Just because a process is relatively new and advanced doesn't mean it's immune to problems. What are the potential traps? Too many who want the benefits of analytics are not ready to commit the financial resources to achieve them. Companies need to be dedicated to the process, or the results just won't materialize. Additionally, users need to have reliable datasets as the initial resource for the process. Finally, employees need the right kind of training in order to not only gather the relevant information but to know how to assemble it into a usable format for managers and supervisors.

Advantages Outweigh the Downsides

Given the drawbacks and potential pitfalls, it's understandable that some entrepreneurs might be reluctant to explore the potential of business analytics for their organizations. However, that would be a mistake, primarily because the advantages far outweigh the negatives. Even if initial costs are high, the eventual gains in efficiency nearly always pay big dividends in terms of ROI. Vast amounts of customer-related data can help owners stay ahead of the curve when it comes to anticipating changes in demand and clients' needs. That's the principal benefit of analysis in the first place, and it is the main reason so many entrepreneurs use it. Plus, it's a cost-effective way to monitor your company's progress with respect to a particular task or mission.