Article | April 30, 2020
In the present complex and volatile market with data as a nucleus, analytics becomes a core function for any enterprise that relies on data-driven insights to understand their customers, trends, and business environments.
In the age of digitization and automation, it is only sensible to make a move to analytics for a data-driven approach for your business. While a host of sources including Digital clicks, social media, POS terminal, and sensors enrich the data quality, data can be collected along various stages of interactions, and initiatives were taken. Customers leave their unique data fingerprint when interacting with the enterprise, which when put through analytics provides actionable insights to make important business decisions.
Table of Contents:
Business Analytics or Business Intelligence: The Difference
Growth Acceleration with Business Analytics
Business Analytics or Business Intelligence (BI): The Difference
Business Intelligence comes within the descriptive phase of analytics. BI is where most enterprises start using an analytics program. BI uses software and services to turn data into actionable intelligence that helps an enterprise to make informed and strategic decisions.
It’s information about the data itself. It’s not trying to do anything beyond telling a story about what the data is saying.
- Beverly Wright, Executive Director, Business Analytics Center, Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business
Some businesses might use BI and BA interchangeably, though some believe BI to be the know-how of what has happened, while the analytics or advanced analytics work to anticipate the various future scenarios.
BI uses more structured data from traditional enterprise platforms, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) or financial software systems, and it delivers views into past financial transactions or other past actions in areas such as operations and the supply chain. Today, experts say BI’s value to organizations is derived from its ability to provide visibility into such areas and business tasks, including contractual reconciliation.
Someone will look at reports from, for example, last year’s sales — that’s BI — but they’ll also get predictions about next year’s sales — that’s business analytics — and then add to that a what-if capability: What would happen if we did X instead of Y.
- CindiHowson, research vice president at Gartner
A subset of business intelligence (BI), business analytics is implemented to determine which datasets are useful and how they can be leveraged to solve problems and increase efficiency, productivity, and revenue. It is the process of collating, sorting, processing, and studying business data, and using statistical models and iterative methodologies to transform data into business insights. BA is more prescriptive and uses methods that can analyze data, recognize patterns, and develops models that clarify past events, make future predictions, and recommend future discourse.
Analysts use sophisticated data, quantitative analysis, and mathematical models to provide a solution for data-driven issues. To expand their understanding of complex data sets, and artificial intelligence, deep learning, and neural networks to micro-segment available data and identify patterns they can utilize statistics, information systems, computer science, and operations research.
Let’s discuss the 5 ways business analytics can help you accelerate your business growth.
READ MORE: HOW TO OVERCOME CHALLENGES IN ADOPTING DATA ANALYTICS
Growth Acceleration with Business Analytics
1. Expansion planning
Let’s say you’re planning an expansion opening a branch, store, restaurant, or office in a new location and have accumulated a lot of information about your growing customer base, equipment or other asset maintenance, employee payment, and delivery or distribution schedule. What if we told it is possible to get into a much detailed planning process with all that information available? It becomes possible with business analytics. With BA you can find insights in visualizations and dashboards and then research them further with business intelligence and reports. Moreover, you can interact with the results and use the information to create your expansion plan.
2. Finding your audience
You’re right to examine your current customer data but you should also be looking into the customer sentiments towards your brand and who is saying what, and in what parts of the region. Business Analytics offers social media analysis so you can bring together internal and external customer data to create a profile of your customers, both existing and potential. Thus, you have prepared an ideal demographic, which can be used to identify people that are most likely to turn to your products or services. As a result, you have successfully deduced the area that offers the most in terms of expansion and customer potential.
3. Creating your business plan
The real-time interaction with your data provides a detailed map of the current progress as well as your performance. Business Analytics solutions offer performance indicators to find and forecast trends in sales, turnover, and growth. This can be used in the in-depth development of a business plan for the next phase of your thriving franchise.
4. Developing your marketing campaign
With Business Analytics, you’re capable of sending the right message to the audience most eager to try your product/service as part of a marketing campaign. You’re empowered to narrow down branding details, messaging tone and customer preferences, like the right offers that will differentiate you from the other businesses in the area. Using BA, you have gained a competitive edge by making sure you offer something new to your customers and prospects. It enables you to use your data to derive customer insights, make insight-driven decisions, do targeted marketing, and make business development decisions with confidence.
5. Use predictive insights to take action
With analytics tools like predictive analytics, your expansion plans are optimized. It enables you to pinpoint and research about the factors that are influencing your outcomes so that you can be assured of being on the right track. When you can identify and understand your challenges quickly and resolve them faster, you improve the overall business performance resulting in successful expansion and accelerated growth.
READ MORE: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE, DATA WAREHOUSING AND DATA ANALYTICS
Article | April 30, 2020
Today when we look around, we see how technology has revolutionized our world. It has created amazing elements and resources, putting useful intelligence at our fingertips. With all of these revolutions, technology has also made our lives easier, faster, digital and fun. Perhaps at a point when we are talking about technology, Machine learning and artificial intelligence are increasingly popular buzzwords used in modern terms.Machine Learning has proven to be one of the game changer technological advancements of the past decade. In the increasingly competitive corporate world, Machine learning is enabling companies to fast-track digital transformation and move into an age of automation. Some might even argue that AI/ML is required to stay relevant in some verticals, such as digital payments and fraud detection in banking or product recommendations.To understand what machine learning is, it is important to know the concepts of artificial intelligence (AI). It is defined as a program that exhibits cognitive ability similar to that of a human being. Making computers think like humans and solve problems the way we do is one of the main tenets of artificial intelligence.
Article | April 30, 2020
There’s a lot of information out there related to COVID-19. But right now—when it’s more important than ever to quickly access and analyze data —figuring out how to effectively use COVID-19 data to better manage your business can still be a challenge. We can help. Several customers have leveraged their Incorta platforms to instantaneously integrate COVID-19 data into their enterprise data and analytics dashboards.
Article | April 30, 2020
Stephen Hawking, one of the finest minds to have ever lived, once famously said, “AI is likely to be either the best or the worst thing to happen to humanity.” This is of course true, with valid arguments both for and against the proliferation of AI.
As a practitioner, I have witnessed the AI revolution at close quarters as it unfolded at breathtaking pace over the last two decades. My personal view is that there is no clear black and white in this debate. The pros and cons are very contextual – who is developing it, for what application, in what timeframe, towards what end?
It always helps to understand both sides of the debate. So let’s try to take a closer look at what the naysayers say. The most common apprehensions can be clubbed into three main categories:
A. Large-scale Unemployment: This is the most widely acknowledged of all the risks of AI. Technology and machines replacing humans for doing certain types of work isn’t new. We all know about entire professions dwindling, and even disappearing, due to technology. Industrial Revolution too had led to large scale job losses, although many believe that these were eventually compensated for by means of creating new avenues, lowering prices, increasing wages etc.
However, a growing number of economists no longer subscribe to the belief that over a longer term, technology has positive ramifications on overall employment. In fact, multiple studies have predicted large scale job losses due to technological advancements. A 2016 UN report concluded that 75% of jobs in the developing world are expected to be replaced by machines!
Unemployment, particularly at a large scale, is a very perilous thing, often resulting in widespread civil unrest. AI’s potential impact in this area therefore calls for very careful political, sociological and economic thinking, to counter it effectively.
B. Singularity: The concept of Singularity is one of those things that one would have imagined seeing only in the pages of a futuristic Sci-Fi novel. However, in theory, today it is a real possibility. In a nutshell, Singularity refers to that point in human civilization when Artificial Intelligence reaches a tipping point beyond which it evolves into a superintelligence that surpasses human cognitive powers, thereby potentially posing a threat to human existence as we know it today.
While the idea around this explosion of machine intelligence is a very pertinent and widely discussed topic, unlike the case of technology driven unemployment, the concept remains primarily theoretical. There is as yet no consensus amongst experts on whether this tipping point can ever really be reached in reality.
C. Machine Consciousness: Unlike the previous two points, which can be regarded as risks associated with the evolution of AI, the aspect of machine consciousness perhaps is best described as an ethical conundrum. The idea deals with the possibility of implanting human-like consciousness into machines, taking them beyond the realm of ‘thinking’ to that of ‘feeling, emotions and beliefs’.
It’s a complex topic and requires delving into an amalgamation of philosophy, cognitive science and neuroscience. ‘Consciousness’ itself can be interpreted in multiple ways, bringing together a plethora of attributes like self-awareness, cause-effect in mental states, memory, experiences etc. To bring machines to a state of human-like consciousness would entail replicating all the activities that happen at a neural level in a human brain – by no means a meagre task.
If and when this were to be achieved, it would require a paradigm shift in the functioning of the world. Human society, as we know it, will need a major redefinition to incorporate machines with consciousness co-existing with humans. It sounds far-fetched today, but questions such as this need pondering right now, so as to be able to influence the direction in which we move when it comes to AI and machine consciousness, while things are still in the ‘design’ phase so to speak.
While all of the above are pertinent questions, I believe they don’t necessarily outweigh the advantages of AI. Of course, there is a need to address them systematically, control the path of AI development and minimize adverse impact. In my opinion, the greatest and most imminent risk is actually a fourth item, not often taken into consideration, when discussing the pitfalls of AI.
D. Oligarchy: Or to put it differently, the question of control. Due to the very nature of AI – it requires immense investments in technology and science – there are realistically only a handful of organizations (private or government) that can make the leap into taking AI into the mainstream, in a scalable manner, and across a vast array of applications. There is going to be very little room for small upstarts, however smart they might be, to compete at scale against these.
Given the massive aspects of our lives that will likely be steered by AI enabled machines, those who control that ‘intelligence’ will hold immense power over the rest of us. That all familiar phrase ‘with great power, comes great responsibility’ will take a whole new meaning – the organizations and/or individuals that are at the forefront of the generally available AI applications would likely have more power than the most despotic autocrats in history. This is a true and real hazard, aspects of which are already becoming areas of concern in the form of discussions around things like privacy.
In conclusion, AI, like all major transformative events in human history, is certain to have wide reaching ramifications. But with careful forethought these can be addressed. In the short to medium term, the advantages of AI in enhancing our lives, will likely outweigh these risks. Any major conception that touches human lives in a broad manner, if not handled properly, can pose immense danger. The best analogy I can think of is religion – when not channelled appropriately, it probably poses a greater threat than any technological advancement ever could.