Do you understand what data analytics really is, or just that it’s a hot topic you’d like to know more about?
Getting to grips with business analytics (to give it its other name) should be near the top of the “to do” list for most finance professionals. But a lot of accountants don’t actually know what analytics is and how it fits into the accounting and finance function.
So if that is you, then this first instalment of a 5 part series on Business Analytics is a perfect way to get started.
What is data analytics?
Simply put, analytics is a structured approach to data-driven problem solving. In the context of our work, it’s using data to build models that increase your insight, leading to better decision making, and added value to individuals, companies and organisations.
The concept was first introduced to the world of business in the noughties, through the pioneering work of Thomas Davenport and Jeanne Harris. Their Harvard Business School book Competing on Analytics brought a largely academic subject to the world of business.
Analytics has become a competitive weapon due to increased processing power, huge reductions in IT storage costs, and the availability of usable data.
The shift has been so dramatic that some analysts have called data the new oil, pointing to huge performance gains and investment rewards if companies can extract it, transform it and use it to answer their most compelling questions.