Business analytics, big data and predictive analytics are redefining how businesses succeed. As business intelligence (BI) tools become increasingly accessible, more industries are seeing them as indispensable to stay competitive. According to Gartner, the worldwide BI and analytics market is expected to hit almost $23 billion in revenue by the end of 2020. The challenge is to keep up with demand. There’s a significant shortage of qualified workers with big data and analytics skills. This poses the greatest skills gap — more of a chasm — facing companies today, according to the Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey 2018. The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business Online Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) can offer students the training and expertise in big data and analytics that industries seek.
Master of Science in Business Analytics Degree
Maryland Smith’s Online MSBA program develops advanced knowledge in quantitative modeling, data mining, data management, SQL and more. The coursework covers an array of business analytics topics that prepare students in data-driven decision-making and predictive analytics. After completing core and advanced classes, students choose from courses focused on health care, advanced marketing analytics or business leadership, providing an opportunity for application.
An MSBA can help launch a career in several industries: health care, consulting, finance, travel and hospitality, and sports management, among others. Graduates can emerge with the confidence to communicate data-driven business strategy, as well as the skill set to drive smarter business decisions using analytics.
The Benefits of Business Analytics
Business analytics offers many advantages to companies by enabling them to uncover insights into past, present and future business operations. Rather than relying on intuition or guesswork, companies can look to quantifiable data for decision-making in marketing, finances, sales or internal processes. Business analytics makes this possible with a host of tools that enable companies to exploit their data in new ways. The amount of data collected far exceeds what humans can process, but business analytics tools can not only process vast amounts of data but also provide a deeper vision of what the data means and how to use it.
Real-World Business Analytics Examples
The following real-world business analytics examples are discussed in the Datapine article “13 Analytics and Business Intelligence Examples Illustrating the Value of BI,” illustrate how business analytics tools can resolve various issues and help companies achieve what they’re after:
- Growing sales. In response to inconsistent sales, an online retailer implemented a sales dashboard, hoping to stabilize and grow its sales. The sales dashboard made it clear that data wasn’t driving sales. This prompted the retailer to reconfigure its sales strategy and shift its target setting system in response to data. As a result, sales grew by 24 percent.
- Developing marketing strategies. A clothing retailer with early success started to see customer purchases and sales level off. The retailer decided to install a retail dashboard tailored to demographic information about current and target customers. With new access to this information, the retailer located areas for improvement and identified where sales were strongest. The retailer was then able to segment buyers by relevant factors and customize marketing strategies to each group. By using internal data and interpreting various implications, the retailer could better market to its customers and grow its customer base.
- Using predictive analytics. A gym chain wanted to reduce customer attrition. The company installed a predictive analytics model that identified customers likely to cancel their memberships, and then, using historical data, predicted incentives to offer that could improve customer retention. When at-risk customers arrived at a gym, the system alerted membership staff so they could discuss incentives and stave off cancellations.
- Improving financial efficiency. A company in the bioscience field turned to business analytics to determine why after recent growth, it was experiencing a low collection percentage, excessive claims denials and a high balance of money owed to it. With the help of software that allowed for intuitive online reporting, the company used account-based metrics, a strategy that increases engagement with targeted accounts, to identify the cause of the excessive claims denials. As a result of business analytics, the company managed to resolve millions of dollars’ worth of denied claims.
- Increasing productivity through streamlined processes. An online food ordering company wanted new insights that could boost productivity and streamline commercial operations. The company implemented a dashboard that gave real-time access to its customers’ life cycles. This produced data that facilitated the streamlining of sales activities and marketing campaigns, thereby achieving the goal of boosting productivity.
Acquiring Business Analytics Skills
The previously discussed data analytics examples show the transformative power of leveraging data. Each example required specific skill sets to execute the tasks. Maryland Smith’s OMSBA courses help students cultivate those skill sets under the guidance of expert faculty.
Several examples required data analysis and optimal decision-making, which are skills taught in the course Data, Models and Decisions. Many examples called for optimization, statistical analysis and analytical principles to guide complex decision-making, which are skills taught in the courses Strategy Analytics and Decision Analytics.
Understanding the buyer decision process (or consumer buying process) and having promotional strategy and market segmentations knowledge are helpful in developing marketing strategies. Courses like Advanced Marketing Analytics teach choice and count data models, mixture and mixture regression models, and conjoint analysis using data-based cases for profitable business decisions.
Increasingly, governments and businesses are collecting more and more data. Maryland Smith’s online MSBA program provides coursework to develop skills in predictive analytics, data mining algorithms and modeling in courses like Data Mining and Predictive Analytics and Decision Analytics.
Acquiring these analytics skills is an important goal for those in an MSBA program. Graduates can gain the skills and expertise to communicate a data-driven business strategy to drive smarter business decisions.
Interested in an MSBA Degree? Learn More
An MSBA offers a wealth of information to those seeking a career in big data and business analytics. Those passionate about business analytics’ potential to transform an array of industries should consider developing the necessary knowledge. The right expertise can prove instrumental when dealing with real-world examples of business analytics.
Learn more about how Maryland Smith’s Online MSBA program prepares graduates to succeed across many industries.