How analytics guides business strategy

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For organizations to achieve sustainable growth, leaders must set carefully considered goals and draw on reliable sources of information. In recent years, analytics has emerged as one of the most important means for companies to cultivate business intelligence and determine direction. With the right data and thorough analysis, leaders can make more informed decisions, resulting in long-term success for their organizations.

To gain the full benefits from big data, businesses need experts who are skilled at not only collecting huge quantities of information, but also applying their findings with strategic recommendations. Earning a masters in analytics prepares professionals to guide business strategy based on a clear understanding of both technical processes and real-world results. Data-driven decision-making is a vital part of how organizations function today, and graduates will find that the role of analytics is only expanding.

Preparing a business for its future

Thanks to the ready availability of advanced data tools and cloud storage, businesses now gather information on all aspects of their operations. Everything from sensors at manufacturing sites to social media pages can provide data that must be stored, processed and reported. To take those findings from raw numbers to actionable intelligence, an organization creates customized processes and hires leaders who understand how to guide analytics-based initiatives.

A wise approach to using big data is founded on a carefully thought-out business strategy. Executives and the management team should determine precisely what they expect the organization to accomplish over the next months and years. Any major programs and operational transformations that are already in motion may point the way to areas that would most benefit from greater analytics support.

An organization gets the best results by distinctly articulating the business problems its big-data initiatives will solve. Leaders should consider what information and models they need to move toward their goals, setting up metrics accordingly. Once executives and managers have a vision for integrating analytics efforts into the everyday work of various teams within the business, it’s possible to proceed with putting the right infrastructure and IT support in place.

Building the architecture for big data

With business intelligence in high demand, it’s crucial for analytics experts to focus on projects with the potential to give a company an edge in the marketplace and clearly communicate their discoveries to stakeholders. Data architects and scientists direct the flow of analytics insights to efficiently reach the people who are plotting the next move for areas like logistics, marketing or risk management. By conveying insights through strong communications and understandable visualizations, these professionals bring managers the tools they need to make significant advances in how a company runs.

As a report from McKinsey & Company noted, companies gain an advantage by creatively seeking out more and richer sources for analytics. Data experts continually expand the available stores of information, learning about customer behavior and internal processes. They can build smarter models and more accurate algorithms by digging into the principles that propel a company forward and considering how their work is connected to overall priorities.

Models are immediately useful when they are built around the pressing decisions that face the company and built into tools that non-expert users can understand. This transition into analytics-driven processes is smoother if data professionals are in frequent contact with managers, directing their work to be as relevant as possible. If drawing on analytics is simple and intuitive for the people in charge of operations, then data is more likely to deliver significant improvements for ongoing business strategy.

Developing today’s essential analytics skills

Making the most of big data to confront business challenges calls for an array of skills. Data professionals must be well-versed in tools for collecting, organizing and interpreting vast sets of quantitative information. However, to truly guide business strategy, they must also be aware of how that data can be applied, and capable of getting their expertise across to decision-makers.

That’s why a business analytics masters degree program is a major asset for professionals who are interested in pursuing a career in applying data to real-world questions. Villanova School of Business students graduate with an education in using the latest software to manage information throughout an enterprise, mining data, performing analysis and applying what they learn to the requirements of a growing company. As a capstone project, students partner with a business to see first-hand how the skills and knowledge they’ve developed can make a difference in creating a smart, forward-looking strategy.

Find out more and learn how you can apply by visiting the program page.

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