14 February 2024

Exploring: What is data analytics?

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What is data analytics in simple words? This blog contains everything you need to know about the function, and what techniques will make it really shine.

Defining data analytics

Firstly, let's get on the same page when it comes to what data analytics is. Simply put, it’s a broad field that covers collating, analysing and interpreting data, turning that data into information to help an organisation achieve its goals through informed decision making. 

It’s also important to differentiate between data analytics and data analysis. These are often used synonymously, but there are subtle differences. The latter is all about finding meaning in data to make informed decisions. The former is wider ranging and utilises a varied data and tools to generate insights. 

The Importance of data analytics

Why do businesses need data analytics? There are a lot of benefits to consider, but the role of Data analytics in decision-making is crucial. Without data analytics, you simply won’t have the information you need to make the most effective decisions. Imagine trying to solve a puzzle with half the pieces missing, and this becomes clear. 

In addition to data-driven decision making, data analytics can also improve the quality of a customer experience as well as streamline your day-to-day operations. 

Types and Techniques of Data Analytics 

There are four key kinds of data analytics to consider. To have a balanced function, you’ll need to account for all four. 

  • Descriptive analytics: This is arguably the simplest approach. Here you gather up data and use that to figure out things that have happened. An example would be how many sales you’ve made in a specific period. 
  • Diagnostic analytics: Taking things a step further, this analysis will try to figure out why something happened the way it did. If your sales spiked in the summer, for example, why is that the case? 
  • Predictive analytics: Here, we use the historical data to predict potential futures. This often involves creating situation models and other tools to go beyond the basic data. If sales were up in summer of one year, can we figure out if the same thing is likely to happen again? 
  • Prescriptive analytics: This is the most advanced form of analytics, but it’s an important part of the process. This is where you’ll get actions recommended to you. For example, you’ve predicted that sales will be high in the summer. What actions can you take to ensure stocks are at the right level? 

Tools Used in Data Analytics

iTrent People Analytics Platform is one of the tools you could use. It’s a cloud-based analytics platform that helps you extract HR data and combine it with data from across your organisation. It also makes tracking a lot simpler, enabling you to gather more effective and useful data. 

The iTrent People Analytics Platform is built around a central data model, which means you can perform more tasks without putting a strain on your resources. 

This can then be fed into your corporate data solution such as data warehouse or even pulled into any other data led solution. 

The Future of Data Analytics

Data analytics is a function that is constantly evolving, and to keep up you need to keep your team up-to-date. Data democratisation and decentralisation is a key concern, as is utilising real-time data to its greatest extent. 

All this needs to be done while maintaining good data hygiene and data governance. That’s a lot to ask of any team! That’s why it’s vital you give them all the tools they need to thrive. 

Want to learn gain even more insights? Take a look at our data analytics page for more details. 

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Emma Reid

Content writer at MHR

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