What Is the Future of Business Analytics?

Woman working with 3D charts and graphs
Woman working with 3D charts and graphs

What Is the Future of Business Analytics?

The value of a business analytics masters degree can not be overstated. The big data market continues to see exponential growth as companies invest billions into the analysis, visualisation and application of data. 

Companies are investing in advanced technology platforms, but they are also investing in people. Professionals with higher education in the realm of data analytics are at an advantage across multiple industries including accounting and finance, human resources, business and administration, information technology, marketing, advertising and sales. Business analytics masters students emerge from their programme with the most sought-after skills in the job market. 

Discover the power of big data, how big data is transforming the operations and performance of businesses and how professionals are using business analytics masters degrees to enter lucrative careers in data and technology. 

The Growing Big Data Market

Data is a modern form of currency for businesses. Every facet of a company, from the operations to the marketing performance, relies on data to excel in the contemporary digital landscape. This explains why skills such as business analytics and data visualisation are in high-demand across various industries. 

Ron Marvin, a contributor at PC Magazine, says, “The right data can give companies predictive advantages in the market (if they know how to analyse it), give apps and services personalised context to tailor experiences to users, and power the online ad market that allows much of the web to remain free.”

In response, large companies are gaining competitive advantages in various sectors by investing in big data and business analytics solutions. Tech giants like Google and Salesforce can spend billions on high-performance data platforms. In one month, Salesforce spent $15.7 billion acquiring a platform called Tableau Desktop, a tool that enables enormous data collection and visualisation.

Companies believe that business analytics and data is worth the investment. Entire countries are now dropping large sums of money on big data to bolster their economies and the market is taking notice. IDC forecasts that revenues for big data and business analytics solutions will reach $274.3 billion by 2022 after experiencing double-digit annual growth. 

According to PC Magazine, the industries currently making the most substantial investments in big data and business analytics solutions are the following:

  • Banking 

  • Discrete manufacturing 

  • Professional services

  • Process manufacturing

  • The federal and central government

On a geographic basis, the following countries have the most significant markets based on BDA revenues in 2019:

  • United States ($100 billion) 

  • Japan ($9.6 billion)

  • The UK ($9.2 billion)

  • China ($8.6 billion)

  • Germany ($7.9 billion)

Big data is growing at a rapid pace and as more industries prioritize big data, businesses are seeking professionals with advanced education, such as a business analytics masters degree, to bring necessary skills to the workplace.

Man's hand manipulating a 3D chart on a tablet

The Power of Big Data for Decision Making in Business

Big data is useless to companies that don’t know how to analyse it and apply it in the form of actionable business plans. There are three primary forms of data analytics in the field and each area serves a unique function for the business. According to Forbes, the future of business analytics will primarily rely on prescriptive analytics to inform business strategies.

  • Descriptive analytics refers to the most basic form of data analytics that describes past business performance using data sets. Companies use descriptive analytics to reflect on the success of marketing campaigns, sales and similar business reports. 

  • Predictive analytics is the process of forecasting patterns using past data. Companies often use machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to collect customer data (ex. Buying patterns) to make predictions about future behaviours and results. 

  • Prescriptive analytics is the type of business analytics that Forbes deemed essential for businesses today. This form of data analysis combines descriptive and predictive analytics to recommend business strategies. Prescriptive analytics accomplishes what a business analyst aspires to achieve, by using data to inform better business solutions.

How do businesses use big data to contribute to organisational success? Big data only works for a company when it’s applied correctly. There are numerous ways data analytics can drive growth in a business. First, a business must build a workplace culture around data-driven decision making. Second, a company must prioritise data-informed decisions over subjective opinions to eliminate bias. Next, the organisation must use the right technological tools that makes data accessible to everyone. A data-driven culture is only feasible if it’s available to everyone in the workplace. 

An organisation should use advanced tools to answer the right questions such as “what do our customers really want?” or “what platforms are our customer currently using?”. Finally, a company must use data to solve the most important problems. Big data can be a substantial investment and it should be invested in the right avenues.

Businessman working intently at laptop

Top Skills Needed in Business Analytics Careers

Companies desperately need educated business analytics professionals to fill the skill gap in the market. A business analytics masters degree teaches professionals how to marry data and business insights to meet the needs of companies.

A recent survey by BDaily News says, “Almost half of data scientists who identified as fulfilling a leadership role said that skills shortages are posing the greatest challenge to delivering value within their organisation, with four out of five (86%) of managers reporting that it is difficult to hire talent in the sector.” The same survey indicated that the most in-demand skills include the following: 

  • Machine Learning (57%)

  • Big Data analytical technologies (49%)

  • Big Data technologies (44%)

  • Visualising (43%)

  • Programming (35%)

  • Technology (35%)

  • Communication (34%)

Business leaders surveyed by the World Economic Forum selected "user and entity big data analytics" as the top technology their organisations were likely or very likely to adopt by 2022, making professionals with a business analytics masters degree exceptionally employable. 

Advanced degrees, such as a business analytics masters, teach students practical business applications, relevant case studies and hands-on experience with today’s most in-demand technologies. 

Businesswoman working intently at desktop computer

What is the Future of Business Analytics Careers?

The job growth for careers in business analytics is overwhelmingly positive. The demand for professionals with a business analytics masters degree or similar education inflates salary earning potential, especially at large tech companies with spending power and increases overall job satisfaction.

Responsibilities

A business analyst works with organisations to analyse data sets, visualise findings, anticipate future patterns and prescribe actionable business decisions. These professionals interact with data at every level and must communicate their findings to other team members. A business analyst is typically responsible for the following:

  • Collect data and documentation to initiate business analytics

  • Analyse data and make recommendations based on the results

  • Conduct risk management for the company

  • Consistently monitor the performance of projects

  • Identify problems and promptly ideate solutions

  • Create data-informed business strategies

  • Communicate business strategies to management and executives

  • Integrate feedback into future business plans

Salary Potential

A business analyst in the UK earns a salary between £35k to £69k on average. The years of job experience and company location of a business analyst can also influence their average salary. London, England, is the top-paying location for a career as a business analyst. Business analysts in London typically make 14% higher salaries when compared to the rest of the UK. 

Employers

A business analyst’s salary is also dependent on the size of their company and the sector they work within. The financial sector and technology sector both offer generous salary options. For example, a business analyst working at Barclays investment bank and financial services company in London, England would make £99k on average. London is a known hub for technology, business and finance sectors and a desirable location for professionals working in data analytics. 

Gender Breakdown

Although working in data science and data analytics is an attractive career option with a multitude of benefits (positive job outlook, high salary and employability rating), there continues to be a lack of gender diversity in the field. According to BCG, as few as 15% of data scientists today are women. BCG recognises the diversity issue and says, “In building data science teams, achieving a diversity of approaches and points of view is not just desirable—it is critical.” 

The harnessing of big data has become commonplace for companies across numerous sectors. Senior managers must strive for inclusive recruitment and equal representation in the data science and business analytics sector. Women must also investigate career opportunities in data analytics and consider their role in helping to correct the gender imbalance in STEM careers.   

Related Careers

The job title “Business Analyst” is often used as an umbrella term across companies to refer to the other business analytics roles such as Systems Analyst, Management Consultant, Process Analyst or Business Architect. 

Professionals with experience working as business analysts are also able to branch off into related roles. The responsibilities of a business analyst require skills like mediation, data analysis, risk management and project management, which can translate well to associated careers. The following jobs are viable options for holders of a business analytics masters degree: 

  • Project Manager

Average salary: £54,657

  • Software Developer

Average salary: £45,162

  • Data Analyst

Average salary: £35,064

  • Software Engineer

Average salary: £52,269

  • Operations Manager

Average salary: £49,599

Woman with cup of coffee reviewing data on laptop

What You’ll Learn in a Business Analytics Masters

Aston University offers a lucrative, world-renowned business analytics masters programme designed to kickstart a career in business analytics. Aston’s programme teaches students hands-on skills that meet the demand in the market, from descriptive analytics to big data for decision-making. 

Skills and Knowledge

Students enrolled in a business analytics masters programme will learn a series of hands-on analytical skills as well as secondary leadership skills that encourage professional growth. The following four areas reflect the core focus of the business analytics masters programme:

  • Evaluate and Assess: Use descriptive analytics to extract meaningful information from large amounts of data and visualise findings for ease of understanding.

  • Predict and Project: Apply predictive analytics methods to anticipate patterns, estimate potential outcomes and model scenarios for a range of business needs.

  • Prescribe Solutions: Guide business decision-making through prescriptive analytics that quantifies future outcomes with actionable data.

  • Develop as a Professional: Build necessary skills in communication, presentation, consultation and business dynamics while also establishing leadership behaviours.

Courses and Curriculum

Aston University designed the business analytics masters curriculum to offer skills that are applicable in the modern workforce. The courses offered in a business analytics masters programme teach students how to use the latest data analytics technology and software and guide students on how to use data insights to become better leaders. Aston University’s Business analytics masters programme includes the following applied courses:  

  • Big Data for Decision Making

  • Business Analytics in Practice

  • Decision Models

  • Descriptive Analytics

  • Effective Management Consultancy

  • Performance Analytics

  • Software for Analytics

Is a Business Analytics Masters Programme Right For You?

You can gain the vital skills needed to become a business analyst and break into a career in big data. Aston University offers a flexible business analytics masters programme for motivated professionals. The online business analytics masters at Aston University grants students the following:

  • 100 per cent online programme

  • Flexible study options for working professionals

  • Affordable quality degree from a triple-accredited school (accredited by AACSB, AMBA and Equis)

  • A global network of more than 90,000 alumni

  • 82 per cent employability rating after graduation

Learn more about how a career in business analytics will increase your employability, salary and career outlook.

Are you ready for the next step in a business analytics career?