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Analytics is becoming big business. Data analysts (or data scientists as they’re sometimes called) are in high demand, even hailed as having the sexiest job of the 21st Century. But what on earth is analytics? And what business use does it have?
Simply put, analytics is a way of collecting data and making use of it in order to improve business. Data is often presented as charts and graphs that long ago might have been time-consuming to produce, but now can be produced digitally with the click of a mouse. There’s also more need for analytics now, with the internet practically overflowing with data that it’s becoming harder and harder to pinpoint reliable information.
Still don’t get it? It’s probably best explained in its specific uses. Here are some ways modern businesses are using embracing analytics.
Analytics have taken the marketing world by storm. One of the most common examples is web analytics, which tell you who is visiting your website. By looking at web analytics, companies can work out various demographics about their market – the age of people visiting their website, the most popular times, the places that they’re most commonly arriving from and the country that they’re searching from.
This can then be used in improving website traffic. If a blog post on your site is attracting more people than the rest of your content, you can create more blog posts with a similar theme to attract visitors. If Facebook seems to be driving in the most visitors, you can start putting more work into promoting on Facebook.
Analytics can also be used to see who is visiting your social media, who is buying your products online and who is searching for you on Google. All of this can be used to get a clearer idea of one’s market and then cater advertising towards these demographics, at the best times, through the right mediums.
Taken one step further, analytics can be used to process all kinds of information on the internet from web searches of rival companies, related products, client interests and other trends. Data scientists are able to take this to the next level, culminating masses of information to discover trends that can then be jumped on early in order to make a business out of them. It is still pioneering stuff (which is why it pays so well).
You can also use analytics to make better financial decisions, something that accountants are starting to make use of. At a basic level, analytics can be used to determine when your business is spending the most and when it is earning the most. By noticing trends you can use this to help save you money.
With bigger companies in which transactions are more difficult to stay on top of, these kind of analytics are becoming increasingly important.
Analytics can also be used to compare rates of loan companies, insurance companies, energy providers and various business services in order to help you get the best deal. They can also be used to compare foreign currencies.
When applied to human resources, analytics can be very useful to help work out the productivity of specific staff members, helping to organize staff into doing specific tasks based on various attributes. It is most commonly used to monitor sales figures, but specifics can help target weaknesses and strengths and make the most of these.
For example, you may find that a certain time of the day during the week is specifically high for sales, whilst another time may not be. This may be due to certain people being on shift at the time that creates a winning combination.
Analytics in HR have also been used to find the optimum amount of hours in which staff should work before productivity dips. Some businesses have used this implement regular breaks and stimuli that can help improve productivity.
Analytics have even found a place in manufacturing and distribution (as this site http://atb-tech.com/industries-served/manufacturing-and-distribution/ shows). Such analytics can be used to reduce costs during the manufacturing process, such as the cost of materials, the amount of wastage produced and amount then distributed. It can also be used to monitor machinery and improve productivity.
From organizing a warehouse to improving technical precision to monitoring the best traffic times for distributing goods via lorry, analytics has so many implications in this field.
Perhaps the final biggest area in which analytics is being used is when it comes to calculating risks. This is something that insurance companies and stockbrokers have been doing for years, although digital technology and the internet has made this even easier to keep a track of in real time.
Insurance companies use data analysis to decrease the likeliness of having to pay out. They can use demographics of car crashes or houses being broken into to determine which car models are most involved in crashes and which areas are the worst to live in. Stockbrokers meanwhile use analytics to monitor fluctuating prices of stocks such as gold and business shares, knowing when exactly to pull out and when exactly to put the money elsewhere.
Risk management analytics are also used elsewhere from the gambling trade to medical operations to police crime prevention. A legal firm may use risk assessment when deciding to take on a no win no fee case. A marketing agency use risk assessment in order to assess whether to take on a high-paying affiliate campaign.
Risk assessors can be used to work out these risks for you or you may wish to do your own private research. This can be very useful before taking on a high stakes investment or pursuing a marketing decision that may be particularly risky. Quite often it’s the risks that are the most poignant business decisions – making or breaking a business. A better idea of risk through analytics could be the key to your business’s success.
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