Data analytics is an important tool used by many businesses and organizations to gain a competitive edge. Embracing the technique has proven to be valuable and in some cases has led to groundbreaking changes that promise to transform an industry. Using data in new and creative ways can turn a small or underperforming business into a leader in their field.
A case in point is the 2002 Oakland Athletics baseball team. The team’s general manager, Billy Beane, has been celebrated in the book and movie “Moneyball” for his novel use of statistics and data to build a team that finished the season tied for the best record in the sport. This feat was accomplished with a team payroll of $40 million. The team they were tied with was the Yankees who were operating with a player budget of $120 million. Beane’s ability to use data rather than dollars to build his team started a revolution of sorts in professional sports.
The baseball executive had not uncovered a new trove of data that enabled him to make better decisions than his peers. Information that he used to craft his team was available to all of his competitors. It was the way he chose to use that data as he assumed the role of a data analyst which gave him an advantage. Analytics are now widely used by all Major League teams. The repercussions of using analytics can be seen in the game today. An example is the defensive shifts that managers employ in attempts to rob opposing hitters of their favorite areas of the field.
Making Data Easily Accessible
Data analytics can be transformative for an individual business or an industry. It is an essential component of an organization’s efforts to gain a deeper understanding of their market and customers. As in the example from Major League Baseball, tremendous improvements in performance and fiscal responsibility can be achieved by the correct analysis of freely available information.
It’s informative to note that Billy Beane was a lifelong professional baseball player and executive. He had no formal training in data analytics but was simply interested in using the information at his disposal in an innovative way. This highlights the idea that anyone within an organization may have a unique perspective on shared data that leads to important discoveries.
In larger, structured organizations, the defined roles of Business Analyst (BA) and Data Analyst (DA) work to provide and understand the data that drives a company. DAs are responsible for data integrity, collection, and analysis. The BA analyzes data to identify business problems and suggest possible solutions. Both work extensively with data and are to some degree responsible for it to be presented to corporate decision-makers in an accessible and understandable way.
Techniques for Data Analysis
The finished product of a DA or BA is a report which should encapsulate the information in a manner easily understood by non-technical stakeholders. Even deeply technical discussions and details will eventually need to be seen and perhaps approved by management. The data needs be in a format that allows informed decisions to be made by non-technical executives who control the budget.
This can be a challenging task for a data analyst. They employ a variety of methods to create depictions of data that are relevant to the specific business problem or initiative under investigation.
The raw materials of a data analyst are the data sources from which they collect information. These sources can encompass a diverse set of platforms that need to be negotiated to come up with the building blocks of their reports. Ideally, any tools that they use for this purpose can pull data from the required sources whether they be relational databases, cloud data stores, or flat files. The tool should also enable operations to be performed on the accumulated data to facilitate its analysis.
Performing database queries
The information that is assembled by the analysts is stored in databases. Uncovering the connections and patterns that lie within the data is done through database queries. Using SQL queries, analysts interrogate the database and begin to generate data regarding the statistics and trends that are of interest to the business. Tools that can simplify the query building process and allow advanced capabilities such as joining database tables are indispensable for maintaining productivity.
Utilizing data visualization
There’s a good chance that Billy Beane was studying reams of paper filled with numerical statistics about the players under evaluation. It worked, but that type of presentation would not go over well in today’s business environment. Pictures speak louder than words and are an efficient way of representing the results of data analysis.
Data visualization enables complex data to be disseminated to an audience in clearly understood graphs and charts. As the amount of data required to make a decision increases, the ability to showcase it visually becomes more important.
A Comprehensive Tool for Data Analysis
Aqua Data Studio provides a tool that fulfills all the requirements of thorough data analysis. It offers a platform from which your organization can gather the information it needs to perform data analytics on its business or operations. The application addresses the techniques discussed previously in a convenient and intuitive interface. Some specific features of Aqua Data Studio are:
- A visual query builder that streamlines the process of generating SQL statements to distill information from a database.
- Cross-Platform compatibility that allows you to gather, import and export data from multiple sources.
- Advanced data visualization capabilities that enable the creation of graphs, charts, and dashboards to convey the details of the information in an accessible form.
If you are looking for a way to make your business more competitive, data analytics is an excellent place to start. Aqua Data Studio is the right tool to enable you to perform quality data analytics and identify ways to strengthen your organization.