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Analytics - An Organisation's Positioning Coordinates
By Soumyadip Pal
Recently, I read an analogy between business analytics and GPS. It struck me as a very appropriate metaphor - analytics tells you the direction to head to, keeps tracking your position continuously and makes sure you stay on track.
Navigation on the phone recalculates your route if you take a wrong turn, or if a road turns out to be more crowded than usual. Importantly, business analytics does this too! If the current path of the organisation is not yielding the desired results, analytics can suggest an alternative path that would be the best course, given the new scenarios. If the current course of the business looks like a dead-end, business analytics would foresee that and suggest a course correction before it is too late.
How does GPS navigation manage to know your whereabouts and guide you efficiently? Your phone or a navigation device continuously interacts with a set of satellites revolving the earth that continuously calculate your position by triangulating data. Analytics, quite similarly, continuously collects vast amounts of data relating to everything in the organisation. It is this storehouse that analytics draws from when it needs to examine a situation and suggest a course of action.
Finally, just as the efficiency and utility of GPS navigation depends upon the ease with which the device can connect to the satellites to exchange data, similarly, the efficiency of analytics depends upon the ease with which the practitioners in the organisation can access data. This, in turn, requires good practitioners who can utilise the available data to generate truly actionable insights.
Much has been said about the need for good practitioners of business analytics in the industry. The demand for skilled professionals is growing rapidly, and the supply cannot always keep up.
Soumyadip Pal is a retail analytics professional and a passionate educator with more than 8 years in the industry and more than 7 years in the academia, currently working as a consultant with Manipal Prolearn.
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