Growing use of Data Analytics and Business Intelligence

BY: EMMANUEL URÍAS

“Survival of the fittest” is how the saying goes. But how accurate is it? How do you become “the fittest”?

To help us unravel this mystery, let’s take a look at two strategies currently used worldwide by lots of active minds, as of determined entrepreneurs and brilliant CEOs looking for new opportunities to develop their businesses. Who doesn’t want to be among them, am I right? So, how do they do it?

Data Analytics (DA)

The first one is Data Analytics. It’s the art of giving format to data that may or might not be important at a glance, as to transform it into useful information. It helps to cleanse and model data so you can draw conclusions from it, as to help you bring another perspective to the table, assisting you on your decision-making process. Not satisfied with that, it lets you, using statistic tools, makes a projection towards the future demands and needs of the company. Its principal objective is to turn raw data into something that it’s worth looking at.

Business Intelligence (BI)

The second one is Business Intelligence. This one is all about decision making and the growth of such business. Its purpose is to synthesize and discriminate the information considered crucial so you can use it to decide the strategies, tactics and turns your company has to take in order to become bigger and stronger.

They sound alike, don’t they? Well, at the surface they might look the same, but they use some tools that differ from each other. BI focuses on the data stored in Data marts and Data warehouses, the first being the databases of a specific area inside the organization, and the former the databases that filter and link the key pieces of each data mart. The BI works with the historical reports, whilst DA goes wider and broader, taking into account even more information that might look insignificant but might be of use.

For example, a company that makes toys such as stuffed animals and toy cars. They know already that on holidays they increase their sales. It might appear obvious to us now, but there ought to be a time when people didn’t know that. The fact that we now take that for granted is because we have historical data and precedents that point towards that. So, since on years before now there is a peak on the sales of toys, I can say with the high probability of certainty that on years to come there will be sale peaks on the last three months of the year. See what we just did? It’s called Data Analytics.

Let’s think a little deeper into it. Now that I know that my sales will rise between, let’s say, August and January, what do I do with this information? Do I keep the production the same? Do I increase it? Do I lower it?

We are now entering Business Intelligence. You are welcomed into the world of efficient decision making.

Of course, the obvious answer would be to increase production to satisfy the higher demand and make more profit, but most sometimes it’s not as simple. You have to take into account the production capacity, the storage, and distribution capacity and expenses, the pay sheet, the type of toy produced and how popular it can become. It’s a variety of variables that intervene on what the company will do and what strategies it’ll take. That’s where both the Business Intelligence and Data Analytics become friends and hold hands.

The Data Analytics will make the scattered information useful, and the Business Intelligence will filter what is truly important. The DA can give you a projection of what’ll happen in a hypothetical scenario in which you decided to do this or do something different. It involves marketing and benchmarking and statistics to see what kind of impact your decision will have on the company. Not 100% accurate, but it will give you a glance into the probable panorama before it even happens. Cool, right?

On that matter, intelligent businesses (no pun intended) use this to predict changes inside the market so they can go in the right direction and make the most of every situation. They ask questions like “How will the next football season affect sales? How about the release of a new album? Or a presidential election?”

There is so much potential in this. It’s not much about being “fittest” now, is it? It’s more about being the most foreseer and adaptable.

Of course, you need to be equipped properly. Good Information systems that let you manage, edit, create, delete and arrange data in databases. Collect information effectively, and you’ll be one step closer to being the best company you can be. Some will sort depending on your needs; some will make reports about certain indicators and tendencies. It’s all about doing some research on what suits you.

In the end, it’s your call. To be or not to be of those who seek success in the right spot. Of those who use each and every tool, they have at hand to grow. To be of the fittest, the foreseers and the adaptable. To be the best.