The business analytics basics
By: Dane Ashworth
Many companies today are investing heavily in business analytics in order to maximize efficiency of their operations. There are five basic building blocks for getting started on business analytics:
- High-quality data: Data from your business must be tracked for key areas sufficient to determine exactly when and where key transactions are entered, updated or completed.
- Quantity of data: Data trends become more apparent and valuable over time. Your data warehouse should store at least a few years of data to provide high quality analysis.
- Key Performance Indicators: KPIs are the unique measurements for success in your business. Closing percentage, sales volume, etc. are good examples.
- Business metrics: Metrics should be clearly defined for each KPI so you can track how you are performing. A KPI is only valuable if you have a goal to compare.
- Business knowledge: Having the data is only part of the solution. Gather your business expertise to analyze the results.
Once the building blocks are in place, you can begin to analyze your data. There are a variety of third-party tools available for analyzing your data. Most require you to build the data models for analyzing the data yourself. This is typically a very time-consuming and technical process. Some software systems such as SS&C’s TimeShareWare platform have developed analytics packages specifically for their data models to allow you to quickly access the data you need. KPIs are often industry-specific and can be pre-built, allowing you to simply define your metrics to view the results. Be sure to check with your software vendor before developing your own business analytics system to see if such a module is available.
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