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A Basic Overview of Analytics

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

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.

Many Analysts today feel like they are drowning in a sea of data. They need to know how to take control of their data and analysis to quickly answer business questions and make critical decisions. They want to confidently present results and solutions to their managers, colleagues and clients.

You should get started by building a baseline understanding of analytics.

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, which is usually used by senior leaders and decision-makers to investigate problems, validate assumptions and to guide strategic planning.

Business analysts are therefore the most common type of analyst. 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.

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.

A business needs analysts to make sense of big data, manage the storage of the data, and know when to use which of the 4 types of analytics (descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive).

To be effective, analysts need to have business intelligence tools to create data visualizations, build business dashboards and tell stories with data.

So whether you are an analyst or someone who oversees analysts, Putting Your Data to Work is designed as guidebook to help you get the most out of your business data.

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