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What are Business Analytics?

What are Business Analytics?

We gather masses of information in the course of our business dealings every day. But how can this help us shape the future?

Unravelling this data is the key to business analytics: identifying what questions we need to ask about how we are doing business and what we are achieving to provide us with the answers that will help us forecast and plan, making our organisations more resilient and successful.

These steps are outlined by Dr Pietro Micheli, Professor of Business Performance and Innovation at Warwick Business School, who has authored a new guide for Crown Workforce Management Systems

In addition to this guide, he is fronting a series of vlogs which delve deeper into the complexities of business analytics and provide examples of how an analytics approach can be put into practice.

In the first of these videos, ‘What are Business Analytics’ he looks at exactly what we mean when we refer to business analytics and how different sorts of data can be mined to provide the answers that we need.

There are four main types:

  • Descriptive – what has happened, for example in terms of sales patterns, examining which products have been sold to which customers, their satisfaction levels and loyalty
  • Diagnostic – what drove customers’ choices, for example considering what role service may have played, or the effect of our marketing materials such as display and point of sale
  • Predictive – this is future-focused, identifying trends which can help us plan, such as simulation and forecasting activity, for example, data on demand and trends could help us determine new product development needs
  • Prescriptive – this helps us understand the decisions we need to make in order to support any required change, for example, organisational structure, employee skills and collaborations or partnerships.

Says Dr Micheli: “Analytics is as much about the past as it is the future. We have lots of devices around us that gather information, from pedometers and wearables to elaborate business information systems. The important thing is to make sense of the data they collect and use it to make better decisions for our organisations.”

To view the first in this series of four supporting vlogs see