Strategic Use of Analytics in Business: A Key Way to Optimize Business Performance

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Data analyst sitting at his desk examining documents.Strategic use of business analytics is shaping the way small businesses and established corporations alike are envisioning future success and financial stability. Business analytics provides companies with the ability to interpret large volumes of data so they can make informed business decisions that support organizational growth.

To sustain growth, organizations seek to hire professionals who have a background in business analytics. Students who are interested in the strategic use of analytics in business would do well to consider advanced education through programs such as an Online Master of Business Analytics.

Why Analytics in Business Matters

Analytics empowers organizations to unlock potential business strategies through the interpretation of data sets. Professionals who have a background in business analytics have the skills to obtain, analyze, and interpret data from a variety of sources. This provides them with the ability to form strategies in key operational areas such as inventory, product pricing, talent recruitment, and beyond.

The strategic use of business analytics and the effective interpretation of data can improve a company’s overall operational efficiency and revenue growth in a variety of ways. For example, an organization can analyze survey results and usage data from its website to provide customers with a streamlined user experience.

Organizations can also use data analytics to curate their digital marketing to potential targets. Based on information collected from historical advertising data, they can analyze which advertisements resonated with consumers based on clicks and website traffic. By extracting insights from this data, organizations can refine their marketing messages to end users. Through the interpretation of information in marketing databases and the use of customer relationship management (CRM) systems, organizations can make better, smarter, and more strategic marketing decisions.

Overall, strategic business analytics should enable a business to use existing information to better address problems and seize opportunities. For example, a company may use analytics to address issues with sales or product design, or develop new ways to enhance revenue growth or profit margins.

The Different Types of Business Analytics

To effectively implement business analytics, professionals who are seeking a career in data analytics should understand the four major types of analytics: descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive. By effectively interpreting these analytics, business professionals have the ability to provide an organization with high-level insights.

Descriptive Analytics

Descriptive analytics is the process of leveraging data and interpreting data sets by using business intelligence tools such as MATLAB, Microsoft Excel, SPSS, and STATA to better understand raw data. For example, professionals can use descriptive analytics to interpret sales data to identify trends in the market that can be financially exploited.

Diagnostic Analytics

Diagnostic analytics provides organizations with an in-depth understanding of specific problems through the interpretation of historical data. Questions such as — why sales decreased in Q1 and not in Q2, or why a product sold better last year than this year — can often be answered through diagnostic analytics. This type of analytics applies techniques such as “drill-down, data discovery, data mining, and correlations,” according to the publication Analytics Insight.

Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics utilizes the data sets from both descriptive and diagnostic analytics to calculate future trends or outcomes. Professionals are able to interpret this data and create predictive models. For example, these models can inform pricing decisions by calculating how various pricing strategies can influence sales in response to market trends and seasons.

Prescriptive Analytics

Prescriptive analytics leverages advanced machine learning and algorithms to interpret data in real time. This requires an organization to have robust historical data and external information to provide accurate information and instruction when employing prescriptive analytics. Ride-sharing apps — Uber, Lyft, and Cabify — leverage prescriptive analytics to connect customers with the closest driver through GPS.

The Trends in Business Analysis

The strategic use of business analytics becomes even more important for organizations as the volume of available data expands. Two key developments are driving this proliferation of data: the growing number of internet-connected devices, collectively known as the Internet of Things (IoT), and the increased use of mobile devices. At the same time, organizations are sharpening their focus on user experience. To improve user experience, organizations begin by analyzing data.

The world of streaming music services offers an example. The emergence of services such as Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music has created a vast new market. Two-thirds of mobile device users stream music on their mobile devices daily, according to a recent study by the market intelligence company Parks Associates. Mining the massive amounts of data associated with these users can yield insights not only for music services, but also for companies that are seeking to advertise on streaming platforms.

Discover How Using Business Analytics Can Lead to a Rewarding Career

An advanced degree in business analytics can help students develop the skills to interpret data sets and cull vital information. With an advanced degree, business professionals are equipped to meet the data and technological demands of a variety of sectors — finance, health care, aerospace, hospitality, and more. Professionals who have relevant knowledge and skills in business analytics can position themselves for leadership positions as more organizations make use of big data.

The Online Master of Business Analytics program at Ohio University can provide prospective students with the analytical skills to point organizations toward paths of potential growth.

The program’s curriculum — business intelligence, prescriptive analytics, analytics practicum — can enable students to use analysis tools and techniques, interpret intricate data sets, identify business trends,  and help organizations prevent risk through the development of data models and databases.

Discover how Ohio University’s Online Master of Business Analytics can prepare you for a rewarding career.

Recommended Readings

 Essentials for Protecting Consumer Data in the Big Data Era

How Organizations Are Staying Competitive with Business Intelligence Tools

The Future of Business Analytics: Trends in Data and Business Intelligence


Analytics, “The Value of Business Analytics”

Analytics Insight, “Four Types of Business Analytics to Know”

Better Buys, “10 Ways Data Analytics Can Revolutionize Your Business Strategy.”

Business Wire, “Global Customer Journey Analytics Market Analysis, Trends, and Forecasts, 2019-2025 – Increasing Significance of Big Data Adoption into Customer Journey Analytics –”

Business Wire, “2020 Will Be the Year of Continuous Intelligence in the IoT Analytics Market”

Digitalist, “Why Analytics Are So Important For Businesses in 2018”

Houston Chronicle, “Business Analytics Trends”

INMOBI, “Stream And Chill: How Mobile Users Are Really Watching Streaming Video Content In The U.S.”

Ohio University, Online Master of Business in Analytics

Parks Associates, “68% of U.S. Smartphone Owners Listen to Streaming Music Daily.”