Analytics is the scientific process of discovering and communicating the meaningful patterns which can be found in data. It is concerned with turning raw data into insight for making better decisions. Analytics relies on the application of statistics, computer programming, and operations research in order to quantify and gain understanding of the meaning of data. Analytics is especially useful in areas that record a lot of data. It provides us with significant information within large quantities of data and makes sense of it. Analytics leads to finding the hidden knowledge within data.
Data Analytics occurs when businesses require information based on data that may not exist in the data warehouse and hence may not exist in current reports. Data analytics is the result of decision-makers thinking outside of the standard operations of the business. A data analyst might create an interface and pull data from one or more transactional systems into a temporary location to then be pulled into the data warehouse. Tools such as Excel, R, Python, and SQL are commonly used to produce different views and to identify data patterns.
Business Intelligence (BI) includes other areas of data exploration such as forecasting, predictive analysis, machine learning and statistics, master data management, mobile, embedded data visualization, and database technology like No SQL. The bottom line is that BI is not simply a single type of software. It’s a group of applications that are used to transform data into information that can be readily consumed by the company’s employees to monitor and execute their functions effectively.
Data Visualization is the graphical and numeric depiction of the data and data aggregates. There are three ways business users consume data using data visualization:
- Dashboards are a single page of key metrics represented by tables, charts, gauges, colors, and numbers; arranged and consolidated in such a way that the consumer can identify and focus on areas requiring immediate attention or more investigation.
- Reports are typically a multi-column list of transactions that has taken place between a certain date range, within a specific location or region, or by sales rep.
- Alerts typically prompt users to action or further investigation. They are based on one key metric and provide a warning that an event has just taken place that exceeds a meaningful self-defined threshold.