You've heard the term "business analytics" before.


What do business analysts do?

But, do you know what business analysts do? Find out more about how these skills can enhance your understanding of data and help you add value to your work.

Business analytics: defining this term

The word analytics refers to the science of drawing conclusions from raw data. How do businesses use analytics, though?

1. Searching for trends and fine-tuning data reporting

First of all, businesses use analytics techniques that help them find trends. They’ll see performance data that they might otherwise miss. Ultimately, analytics helps them report more accurate data.

2. Using business analytics for efficiency

Secondly, business analytics techniques can help companies and organizations be more efficient. With solid data, organizations can create better products. Better products means meeting people’s needs in greater ways.

CIO notes that business analysts often straddle the line between the IT and business worlds to help bridge the gaps and improve efficiency. Above all, business analytics helps organizations perform at a higher level.

How do business analysts work with data?

Business analysts begin with a strong question. A good research question sets you up to follow the Data Science Framework steps.  For example, we tackle this in our FREE Business Analytics Preview course.

Here are two research questions:

  • What business analytics jobs are available in Wisconsin or Michigan?
  • What is the average salary?

Next, Professor John Fields demonstrates what a real business analyst would do to answer these questions. Then, Prof. Fields teaches the “OSEMN” framework, which was developed by Hilary Mason and Chris Wiggins. This framework is used globally by many people within the realm of data science. (This would include business analysts.)

Using the OSEMN Framework

“OSEMN” is an acronym based on standard procedures in data science.

  • Obtain: When we look at the data, we apply the principles and techniques of data collection to locate the appropriate sources needed to answer the research question(s).
  • Scrub: Often, we will need to scrub the data. This involves reviewing the data for errors, anomalies, and missing information.
  • Explore: When we explore data, we perform exploratory data analysis (EDA). This involves looking for patterns and trends. Our objective is to understand the basic statistical information about the data. Then, we can  determine if additional data is needed.
  • Model: In order to construct a model to predict and forecast, we use statistical techniques and data science methodologies.
  • Interpret: To interpret results from exploration and modeling, we use visualization techniques and a summary of recommendations and conclusions.

Business analysts must get answers to questions that organizations need. As you can see, the OSEMN framework gives business analysts the structure and direction to get the job done.

What jobs can I get with a business analytics degree?

We live in the information age. If you can work with data, you’ll have a lot of options for work.

For example, here are a few positions related to business analytics:

  • Business Intelligence Analyst: Business Intelligence analysts look at data and draw business-related conclusions from it.
  • Business Operations Specialist: In this role, you’d look at the processes within a company or organization. You’d become an expert in using data to improve the company’s processes.
  • Marketing Research Analyst: You love to gather market data and communicate it in a way that your colleagues or customers understand.
  • Data Warehousing Specialist: Your specialty would deal with the processes for storing data and developing reports.
  • Management Analyst: You’d prepare the daily operations and create manuals all based on data. You’d look for areas that need to improve along the way.

Remember that these are just a few examples of what you can do as a business analyst. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not seeing the right-fit job for you. If you’re able to analyze data at a high level and clearly communicate what you find, you’ll be able to use this skillset in many contexts.

Free Business Analytics Preview course

Do you want to learn more about what business analysts do? Sign up for our free email course. You’ll get four expert-led lessons delivered to your inbox.

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— Vanessa Lane is the Content Marketing Lead at Concordia University and can be reached at vanessa.lane@cuaa.edu. When she's not at work, she can be found playing with her kids or watching NBA basketball with her husband.

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