The importance of Business Analytics in decision making

Business Analytics

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The importance of Business Analytics in decision making

We are now living in a fast-passed era, where decisions need to be made quickly to solve a personal/Business problem while mitigating the risk of making a bad decision.

In most cases we make decisions based on our past experience, however, we have situations which require critical thinking before a decision is made. This means you need to look at the situation properly and decide how you are going to make a decision. Questions such as Who, what, where, when and why need to be asked.

A few examples I have put below:

  1. What: What is the problem? What are the alternative solutions? What are the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats?
  2. Who: Who is affected by this?
  3. Where: Where will this decision take us?
  4. When: When does this decision need to be made and implemented?
  5. Why: Why does this decision need to be made?


Based on your situation the questions may differ and the time frame to have a decision made; this is why business analytics is crucial for any company because clarity can be made simpler if you have the data to make an informed decision. Business analytics is important and, in some cases, critical for a company’s growth.

So, what is Data Analysis?

In short, data analysis can be said it’s the process of taking data and turning it into information which can be used for decision making. This process involves collecting the data, analyzing it, scrutinizing, and converting it into an understandable format.

Why does a business need data analytics?

Well, in our current time believe it or not analytics is determining our everyday life in some way. I have added a few questions most marketing/sales teams would ask themselves:

  • How many people liked our social media page (Facebook/Instagram)?
  • How many hits we have on our website?
  • How many people bought our product/services?
    • Who left an abandoned basket on our website?
      • Can we follow up?

You see all these questions require some form of an extraction tool to get this data and converting it to usable information to achieve your businesses objectives, this could be upselling, following up a lead or finding out why a product is not selling as it should be.

How does business analytics work?

Business analytics works by using tools to extract data from a business system. Usually, the extraction of this data is through analytical tools such as spreadsheets (excel/google sheets), SAS, Python and R. Some companies have embedded analytics such as CRM systems or HR systems that provide a better company workflow.

Most business departments such as; accounting, marketing, HR, Purchasing and R&D (Research and Development) have some form of data collection which provides key analytics on how the business is performing. This information can also provide you with your customer’s behavior by understanding how they are interacting with your product/service.

Business analytics has a wide range of applications such as financial management, marketing, HR (Human resources) and customer relationship management.

Some of these departments use business analytics for:

  • Reporting (KPI’s)
  • Monitoring and alerting of trends
  • Alerting irregular activities/poor performance
  • Forecasting
  • Understanding how a business is performing this includes:
    • Why did something happen?
    • How can we prevent it from happening?
    • What can we do to improve?
  • Decision making

The trends show that businesses are slowly incorporating business analytics without people actually noticing big changes in their daily workflow; this is due to new software development which incorporate some form of analytical reporting. We no longer need to rely on data input methods in excel, but software integration is now possible to actually link two different systems and be able to extract data from different platforms to make decisions. One example is how you can link your eCommerce website such as Shopify with a payment system like PayPal. This will then link to your accounting software such as QuickBooks, therefore, cutting down your time of constantly converting your sales into excel; you can actually use this software to view your invoices, profit/loss, sales, expenses, tax and the list goes on.

This type of trend will allow small businesses to compete in a level playing field with larger companies because it provides information instant and allows you to make decisions based on actual data rather than guessing what is affecting your business.

Below are some links for business analytics if you are interested to read more


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Why Social Media is important for your business

Image used under creative commons license: mkhmarketing.wordpress.com

 

Consumers are now exposed to many contents online and different marketing strategies are being used by companies to communicate their brands. This is a good time for businesses to establish their presence online in order to communicate with their consumers online.
Here are 5 reasons why it’s important for your business to use social media.

  • Social media platforms have become a major part of our lives. The current trends show a significant amount of consumers use mobile phones and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest to communicate with friends and know what is happening around them. Businesses can participate in this social conversation by setting up accounts on social media platforms and interacting with their consumers. This increases your company’s presence online and creates awareness of your products and services.
  • Social media allows businesses to reach their targeted audience and engaged with them one on one. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are used by companies to interact with their customer base. Using these platforms allows you to get an insight into your customer’s lives by reading their tweets, statuses and also replying to their queries. For example, if you are facing problems with your new product or service, you are most likely going to receive customer complaint on social media immediately. This is important for a business because you can rectify and respond to your customers immediately. This feedback will help you improve your products or services.
  • Social media has improved interaction between businesses and consumers. This interaction (posting, sharing content) on social media platforms creates a relationship between the consumer and their brands. A business can read their consumers tweets and status updates to get insights into their daily lives. This can help a business adjust its marketing strategy to suit their targeted market.
  • Online shoppers are influenced by product reviews/endorsements. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Linkedin, Youtube and blogs play a big part in influencing shoppers to buy your product. Consumers now rate the products they buy to their friends, fans and followers. This kind of review is more authentic to people and has a better chance of creating leads. Having good reviews on these platforms can create a good rapport to have your products or services bought.
  • Social media provides businesses with greater access to their customers buying patterns. Social media has given companies statistical data which they can use to serve their customers better. For example, Facebook analytics can help a cosmetic company understand what their customers like most by seeing what they click and interact with the most on your page. It also provides information such as; what time your customers usually access your page, which time of the week is the busiest and the turnover you can get from each product a customer clicks to buy your product. This information is essential for you business because you are able to concentrate on the products that your consumers like, furthermore improve on the ones that are not performing well.

Richard Branson stated that “social media is such a terrific way to connect with our customers that I would never miss out”. Looking at the worldwide sales of ecommerce you can have a better understanding why social media is important for your business. In recent years there has been an increase in people shopping online. According to Statista.com, the B2C ecommerce sales worldwide stood at 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars in 2013. It is estimated that ecommerce sales worldwide will reach 2.35 trillion U.S. dollars by 2018. That’s an increase of over 1 trillion dollars in sales within 5 years. This is due to an increase in consumers being open minded to shop online and embracing the digital experience. Social media is important for your company because more people are using social media as a reference to buy products, furthermore consumers usually post and review products they have bought on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. This can be a great driving force for your product sales.

Have a look at some interesting statistics courtesy of Digital Insight

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