What is Business Analytics: A Hiring Manager’s Perspective

As per Wiki, The term Business Analytics is defined as “The skills, technologies, practices for continuous iterative exploration and investigation of past business performance to gain insight and drive business planning.”

Since this definition is a broad one, we looked into the job postings from a number of industries and analyzed over 100+ job postings from companies across the industries to shortlist some common attributes for a Business Analytics professional (which includes titles such as business analytics manager, business analytics consultant, Sr. Analyst, Business Analytics etc.). As per those, a business analytics professional should have following attributes:

Transform business questions into fact based analysis that delivers clear insights and actionable recommendations

This is one of the most important attributes of a senior business analytics professional to serve as a bridge between business and analytics department. Business managers face many problems that may have a solution hidden in data. A business analytics professional should be able to understand those problem and

Recommend appropriate performance measures to be produced including lifts, efficiency, confidence intervals, and other statistical metrics.

Once the business quetions have been identified, the next job is to think of appropriate metrics that are to be tracked (like ROI for sales or attrition rate for HR) so that any change in performance can be measured and come up with suggestions on how much improvement can be achieved in a certain time horizon based on historic data on industry data.

Analyze and process data, build and maintain models and report templates, and develop dynamic, data-driven solutions.

This is the most challenging and technical part of a analytics manager’s job. They are expected to create models based on data, that can justify taking certain measures to bring about a positive change. For example, in order to check the high attrition rates a manager may have to find ways to collect new data points like average compensation of people who are leaving the organization, their experience level and average stay in the company. Then they have to prove how some of these factors are contributing to the metrics being targeted (that is attrition). They may come up with suggestions on what measures may lead to a positive change based on industry data or external research reports.

Provide business clients with detailed, actionable reports documenting the findings from, data processing, and data analysis.

Different functions in an organization often track different metrics. The sales, marketing, operations and HR may each have their own set of objectives and consequently they have their own metrics to track. It’s therefore critical for the business analytics professionals to have a birds eye view of all these functions and cater to their business needs (which can at times be conflicting) in a balanced manner. In larger organizations there can be multiple analytics teams across the functions to crunch data for these functions. In that case it’s important for the Business Analytics manager to partner with cross functional analytics teams to develop well-rounded perspective and bring insights together to tell a cohesive story to the senior leadership and drive strategic decision.

Consult on using business intelligence data for predictive analytics and facilitate implementation of new tools and data marts.

Last but not the least, the job of a business analytics manager is to always look forward in terms of technology and changing business environment to ensure smarter decision making for the organization. They may often have to take cognizance of these changes surrounding them and consult the leadership about appropriate strategy for adopting new tools, data sources etc.

As we just observed, the duties of a business analytics professional may often transcend the functional or departmental boundaries. Sometimes junior level analytics professionals are also hired by the companies who mostly focus on data from a business group or function. Instead of looking at organization wide pictures they are often concerned about finding patterns in particular data sets and convey their analysis to the senior professionals. For example, an analyst with marketing department may have to analyze market and account planning data, market intelligence data, and draw the right insights and communicate it to the managers. They also need to work closely with business and function leaders to scope strategic focus, targets, and metrics for the group or unit that they focus on.

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