Business analytics allows leaders to gain insights that improve their decision making and overall organisational strategy. However, before professionals can harness the power of data, they must learn the foundations, including the different types of business analytics.
Students in a Master of Science in Business Analytics programme learn the fundamentals of business analytics, including big data for decision making, business analytics in practice, data mining, web analytics, and how to apply each type of business analytics to solve challenges. Graduates also learn practical skills by analysing real business applications, studying relevant case studies, and gaining hands-on experience with today’s latest technologies.
Learn more about the three primary types of business analytics leaders must understand to leverage statistical methods and technologies effectively.
What are the three main types of business analytics?
Data scientists transform unstructured data into insights, whereas business analysts use these data points to help organisations identify patterns, forecast future probabilities, and transform data into actionable business plans. There are three essential types of business analytics leaders must use to gain insights, including:
- Descriptive analytics
- Predictive analytics
- Prescriptive analytics
What is descriptive analytics?
Descriptive analytics refers to the most basic form of data analytics. In this process, analysts use large data sets to extract insights into what has already happened. These descriptive metrics are often related to business performance. For example, companies use descriptive analytics to reflect on marketing campaigns, human resources, sales, business operations, etc. This form of business analytics is most useful when used with predictive or prescriptive analytics.
Examples of metrics used in descriptive analytics include:
- Year-over-year pricing changes
- Month-over-month sales growth
- Total number of users, subscribers, or leads
- Total revenue per subscriber
What is predictive analytics?
Predictive analytics are used to forecast patterns using past data, often generated by descriptive analytics. Analysts use machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to collect data and predict future behaviours and results, from customer behaviour to employee engagement. Predictive analytics are slightly more enlightening than descriptive analytics because they outline what is likely to happen in the future.
Predictive models are used for various applications, including:
- Weather forecasts
- Translating voice-to-text for mobile phone messaging
- Customer service optimisation
- Investment portfolio development
What is prescriptive analytics?
Once leaders understand what will likely happen next, prescriptive analytics help them control potential outcomes to be more favourable. As a result, this type 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. The future of business analytics will primarily rely on prescriptive analytics to inform business strategies and advise leaders on their next steps.
Prescriptive analytics is used in a variety of real-world applications, including:
- Helping companies personalise customer product recommendations based on past purchases and shopping behaviours
- Helping airlines automatically adjust ticket prices and availability based on numerous factors, including customer demand, weather, and gas prices
- Helping hospitals track readmission rates and improve patient outcomes
- Helping government agencies track climate change and natural disasters and alert communities when evacuation is necessary
What You’ll Learn in a Master of Science in Business Analytics
Aston University offers a globally recognised business analytics master's programme designed for motivated business professionals who want to merge their business, leadership, and data analysis skills. Aston’s programme teaches students hands-on methodologies and technologies that meet the current demand in the market, from descriptive analytics to big data for decision-making.
Skills and Knowledge
According to recent research, there is substantial demand for data skills in the UK. As of 2021, UK companies sought to fill 178,000 to 234,000 roles that required hard data skills. 48 per cent of UK businesses are recruiting for positions that require hard data skills, but 46 per cent have struggled to recruit for these roles over the last two years. In addition, the supply of graduates with specialist data skills from universities is limited. As a result, graduates with an MSc in Business Analytics have a considerable advantage in the job market.
In Aston’s MSc in Business Analytics programme, students learn the following skills:
- 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 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.
MSc Business Analytics Suite
Aston University designed the business analytics masters curriculum to transfer skills applicable in the modern workforce. As a result, Aston offers three distinct programmes designed for specific industries and roles within the MSc Business Analytics Suite, including:
Is a Business Analytics Masters Programme Right For You?
Aston University offers a flexible business analytics master's programme for motivated professionals who want to upskill and reskill to fill the demand in the job market, move into leadership roles, and make better business decisions. The online business analytics master's 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 100,000 alumni
- 82 per cent employability rating after graduation