Nearly every conversation I have at the moment seems to revolve around the topic of analyzing something – from data analytics to the more personal analysis of my personality which I did find rather extreme and a little bit disconcerting to say the least!
Nevertheless, the more and more I hear and learn about the subject of analytics got me thinking – what does it actually mean, why is it important and why now all of a sudden does it appear to be the latest buzzword?
Working in technology marketing my clients are increasingly coming out with more and more advanced business analytics solutions. Listening in to their pitches however, it is clear that most companies still don’t really ‘get it’. Business intelligence and analytics are often confused so before I carry on I thought I’d try and define it from my layman understanding of the subject:
Business intelligence is an understanding of what has happened through the gathering of information. Business analytics is the process of turning that information into intelligence that can be used to make better, more considered business decisions – in effect being able to predict what might happen.
Being able to predict what might happen – really? Well it would appear so. Today businesses have access to more, and increasingly complex, sets of data. Social media and ecommerce have allowed businesses to get an even deeper understanding of their customers, their actions, behaviours and attitudes which when plugged into the right tools will give a series of predictions to allow for better business decisions to be made.
Being able to make better business decisions is critical for any type of organisation – from brands looking to ramp up production of certain products to us B2B marketers in understanding what types of marketing activities are working best and are most likely to continue to be the most successful – both for our clients in terms of business generation and for us in terms of profitability.
So we have access to the right information and we know that an analysis of that information will help us turn that data into valuable information to make better business decisions that will serve to improve our businesses, so I guess the only question that remains is.... ‘If you’re not looking at using analytics – why not?’