With the advent of Big Data, the role of a business analyst has expanded at nearly the same rate as the availability of data. A casual perusal of current job postings related to business analytics degree jobs demonstrates the evolution of the role. For example, one job advert sought an individual to provide the “delivery of change and innovation,” along with taking the lead in “scoping and shaping initiatives”. Another advert sought business analysts to work within “the digital ecosystem” to analyse “patient-facing digital transformation programmes”. The average salary for a business analyst is £41,756.
In their 2018 report, The Cornerstones of Large-scale Technology Transformation, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) found that businesses struggle with the following:
- Creating coherent strategies that combine digital priorities with business objectives,
- Managing the breadth of technology solutions, and
- Redesigning company processes to capture the value of new technologies.
The Future of Business Analytics
As the current state of technology shapes business analytics, understanding where we are heading points toward the type of business analytics careers that will soon be in demand. Since just 2018, cloud computing, dynamic dashboards, and self-service analytics are changing not only the face of business but the skill-sets needed for analysts. Now, and moving forward, companies will require individuals capable of managing the following:
- Data quality management – this entails the ability to collect quality data, process it, apply appropriate analyses and maintain it (particularly as it is used by others).
- Data security – data breaches can be devastating, and costly – the average cost of a business data breach in the UK in 2019 thus far is £4,180 (up from £2,450 in 2017).
- Augmented analytics – the marriage of artificial intelligence and analyst. Artificial intelligence, such as machine learning and natural language processing, is utilised to create automated algorithms to process and analyse data.
- Prescriptive and predictive analytics – the analyst would use data to predict outcomes based on past and current trends using sophisticated models. The analyst can also prescribe actions to manage processes that are out of balance.
Top Ten New Business Analytics Career Paths
Even with cloud computing and Big Data changing the face of business, one thing stays the same: the analyst's business acumen shaping strategies to increase efficiencies and market share. The same business savvy that has propelled the careers of business analysts in the past is still needed today. However, as you will see from the following new (or newly enhanced) roles, you can fill with a business analytics degree, that business skills are now coupled with a more sophisticated analytic toolkit.
While it is tempting to consider a data scientist as more of a computer science role over a business analytics career, many businesses are now seeking to employ them. The data scientist in a business setting is responsible for data collection and storage (extracting from various data platforms such as databases, social media, etc. and storing in a functional, accessible manner), cleaning and preparing the data for analysis, conducting statistical tests, creating predictive models and working with artificial intelligence. The data scientist is also generally responsible for reporting results to decision-makers and shareholders. A data scientist with a business background or approach will be more readily capable of taking a holistic approach to solving a business problem by combining business knowledge with statistical theory and analytical know-how.
Digital Marketing Manager
The standard role of a marketing manager is to design and implement a marketing campaign. Digital Marketing Managers do this in the online business world. Online marketing is a critical component for many businesses now. Online marketing means greater customer personalisation, a greater understanding of the customer, what the customer expects in terms of price and quality, and more insights into how to close a sale. The digital marketer innovates, develops and implements these types of campaigns along with increasing brand recognition.
Individuals who work as management analysts are generally tasked with finding ways to improve the business’s efficiency across operations. They use analytics to locate inefficiencies in systems, processes, or equipment and assist in determining where resources may be best allocated to reduce costs and increase productivity and revenue.
BI Intelligence Analyst
Business intelligence (BI) is used to ascertain current standings in the market along with the competition, and indeed, the use of BI can increase a business’s market advantage. Business intelligence analysts generally create descriptive, exploratory reports of customers, products and the competition.
Among the jobs for those with a business analytics degree is that of web analyst. A web analyst manages such aspects of the business’s website, such as how many visits in a day (and where they were generated), how the customer proceeds through the website (clickthrough), how much time the customers spent on the site and how well the web site is performing.
Business Security Analyst
Among analytics careers, that of a security analyst is one of the most critical. These individuals are responsible for the safeguarding of a business's data. They work toward preventing unauthorised access and endeavour to manage and mitigate any data breaches. Now that more people can manage their activities online, the potential for online theft or other types of damage is higher than ever. Today’s business security analyst needs to understand the latest in online security analysis and techniques to protect the company and its customers.
Data Quality Analyst
The data quality analyst is responsible for ensuring that the data the business collects is appropriate for the intended purpose as well as accurate. With large data sets now so readily available, it is imperative to have an analyst who can determine that the data sets are workable. They determine the standards for data quality and work with developers and others to create processes to enhance data quality.
Data engineers maintain large data sets and work toward the design, development, and optimisation of data infrastructures. They store and retrieve data sets per the needs of the business and other analysts. In some companies, data engineers may work alone or with data scientists to analyse the data to find trends and patterns.
A price analyst makes use of data analytics (such as scenario optimisation) to help businesses set the most competitive prices and increase profits. A price analyst needs to know how to find trends and patterns in market data and conditions to set the optimal price.
A location analyst uses his or her analytical skills to aid in several business areas. These skills are needed in supply chain management, warehouse management, right down to having a better understanding of a customer based on his or her location (for improved communication and spending context). A location analyst can provide new insights to business through the use of geography and mapping.
Gaining the Necessary Skills
If you are interested in these types of business analytics careers, you may be interested in Aston University’s online business analytics programme. This programme captures the essentials of the roles listed above, particularly in terms of using descriptive, prediction, and prescription analytics. This programme may very serve to move you to your future business analytics job.