4 Uses for Analytics in Business

Articles | Online Master of Business Administration

Businesses are harnessing the power of big data and powerful analytics to gain a competitive edge over their peers. By analyzing vast stores of structured and unstructured data, they gain deep insights into the customers and overall business operations to deliver better results. Here are a few of the ways analytics provide answers to the challenges business executives face.

Customer Analytics

Image via Flickr by NEC Corporation of America

Consumers interact with a brand through a variety of digital touch points, each generating volumes of data: Mobile apps, e-commerce sites, social media platforms, and in-store or online purchases. Collecting, combining, and analyzing all this data leads to deep insights into customer behavior.

For business leaders, this insight can be used to identify breakdowns in the customer acquisition path, improve conversion rates, reduce churn, and increase the customer’s lifetime value. Big Data analytics of consumer data points also provide valuable understanding of product development, answering key questions such as which features drive sales or which do they struggle with.

Operational Analytics

Today’s C-suite executives face exceptional pressure to optimize asset utilization, cut costs, improve processes, and ensure a high quality of product performance and service. Often, the key to meeting these goals is found in data contained in log, machine, and sensor data. Operational analytics allows business leaders to identify trends and patterns that inform decision-making, drive optimal operational performance, and cut costs.

Predictive and prescriptive operational analytics provides answers to questions such as:

  • Can the organization predict outages with data from connected devices?
  • Is it possible to identify areas that need maintenance before a problem occurs?
  • What is the best approach to a network failure?

Operational analytics empowers executives to make strategic decisions that improve the organization’s overall performance.

Fraud and Compliance Analytics

Credit card fraud cost the U.S. over $7 billion in 2013 and represented over half of all pay card fraud world wide. Big Data fraud analyticshelps companies identify suspicious or malicious activity that in time to mitigate potential damages.

In addition, companies with unique regulatory and compliance issues such as healthcare can use analytics to streamline the reporting processes for HIPAA and other regulatory bodies. Financial institutions are also using analytics to complement other factors such as credit reports to determine the potential for risk before extending credit.

Data-Driven Product and Service Development

Innovation — developing new products and services — is the lifeblood that sustains growth for business. Analytics is the foundation for understanding the desires and needs of a business’s target audience so they can create the products and services that fuel growth and build customer loyalty.

Data culled from an organization’s customer relationship management system, social media, and even third-party data vendors provide insight that can be used to design innovative products and services that lead to new revenue streams and “sticky” consumers with higher lifetime value. Data-driven analytics helps businesses anticipate their customers’ needs and develop solutions that address them.

Business analytics gives leaders the tools to transform their wealth of customer, operational, and product data into valuable insights that lead to agile decision-making and financial success.