Managers often associate such terms as business analytics, Business Intelligence primarily with the reporting function. This limited interpretation results from, among others, the fact that reports or key performance indicators are the main product of analytical departments. To correctly understand the functions of business analytics, they should be viewed from a wider perspective. Drawing conclusions and formulating adequate recommendations is as important as reporting used for the purpose of an on-going control of an enterprise.

Technology and analytical competences

Apart from technology, which is in the centre of business analytics, it is important to highlight the role of competences of the team, in particular, the chief analyst. A person in this position should, besides technical experience in operating high volumes of data (including non-structured and non-numerical data), also be able to analyse it and thoroughly evaluate the situation. This means the capability to aggregate information and facts into a form that allows for discovering regularities and relations between different elements of the processes.

A skilful analyst must be able to tack the story of operations based on the collected data, and arrange individual facts into a sequence of events. This ability will allow the analyst to accurately explain to the recipients the dependencies between threads and their origins, so that they understand the sense of final conclusions. This way of presentation enables the recipients to grasp difficult issues but also engages them in implementation of the proposed recommendations.

An attractive visualisation sometimes means „less” of something

Visualisation is very helpful in preparing analysis and recommendations for educational purposes, but it must be well-balanced. A skilful analyst knows where to put diagrams and charts to improve the presentation without blurring the overall picture. A picture may be worth thousands of words or numbers, but it is necessary to know what to convey and to whom.

Let us not be afraid to use ready-made tools

The approach presented above requires a combination of knowledge, experience and talent. This is why it is so difficult to recruit good analysts. We are facing a lack of human resources, because requirements for candidates are hard to fulfil. It is advisable to delegate strictly operational and technical tasks (such as clearing the data or generating and distribution of standard reports) to tools and algorithms that will deal much better with recurrent and strenuous operations. However, we need to remember that the issues of business analytics should not come down only to advanced Business Intelligence tools. Without a competent team, even the best analytical tools may become nothing more than an expensive gadget.

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