The Value Of Business Analytics – Identifying The Path To Profitability

It’s a known fact that decision making driven by data rather than relying on manager’s intuition works far more efficiently. There are numerous studies that back this claim that organizations equipped with Business Analytics perform better than their peers. Business analytics is extremely vital for multi-dimensional analysis, data mining, data management, visual discovery, integration, and statistical methods which will in turn help in increasing profitability of an organization.

Let’s find out what exactly is business analytics. Business analytics is a new discipline which has arisen from the combination of two old disciplines, namely, Business Intelligence and Predictive Analytics.

Business analytics uses the functions of Business Intelligence like finding what happened, how it happened and why it happened. This enables the management to become alert and stop moving in the wrong direction. Business Analytics also uses Predictive Analytics for finding data patterns to forecast what will happen in future.

Application of Business Analytics includes the following steps:

  • operational intelligence
  • strategic and competitive analytics
  • customer acquisition and retention
  • risk management
  • fraud detection
  • demand driven forecasting

To become a profitable organization through Business Analytics, the firm needs to have knowledge about customers, regions, market segments and products which are profitable. Also, the organization needs to identify those market segments, customers, competitors and brands which are responsible for losses and take steps to stop the drainage of cash.

According to Thomas Davenport and Jeanne Harris, there are five stages of analytical competition as given below:

  • Analytically Impaired: Absence of analytical skills
  • Localized Analytics: Uncoordinated activities or silos.
  • Analytical Aspirations: Good intentions with slow progress.
  • Analytical Companies: Widely use analytics internally.
  • Analytical Competitors: Use analytics as a competitive advantage.

Business Analytics is a basic discipline which helps an organization to identify the main causes of issues and outcomes. If the firm takes corrective action and satisfies the needs of customers quicker and better than its competitors, then it can become extremely profitable

Earlier, business analytics was expensive and used to be a part of only popular businesses. But now with a wide range of analytical applications to choose from, even small businesses can afford business analytics.

But still businesses are sometimes clueless about how to utilize business analytics for maximum profitability. You can always boost your business by joining Business Analytics course at iACT Global. Through iACT Global, you can study anywhere and at any time. Thus, for a profitable business, join iACT Global now.

African Safari: Entrepreneurship & Sub-Saharan Africa

success-banner-In the past one decade countries in the sub-Saharan Africa have posted strong rates of economic growth.  Actually, between 2000 and 2008, sub-Saharan Africa region posted the highest economic growth rate in the world (average annual GDP growth rate of the region was over 8%).  In 2015 the GDP growth in the region is likely to come down to 4.2%, according to estimates of World Bank.

In spite of slowing of economic growth in the region, countries in sub-Saharan Africa offer great opportunities for you if you are an entrepreneur.  Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria are among the major countries in the region that offer great opportunities for entrepreneurs, in spite of some major challenges.

The sub-Saharan region is very good for setting up manufacturing facilities for items such as clothes. The products manufactured in these facilities can be exported to Europe and United States.  United States has an African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA). This act gives duty-free access to United States to products manufactured in certain sub-Saharan countries. So if you are an Indian that has gone and set up a manufacturing facility in Ethiopia then you may be able to export the products manufactured at your facility without having to pay any customs duty in United States. Due to this the products manufactured at your facility will get a cost advantage over competitors from other countries that do not enjoy preferential access under AGOA.

A recent report by consulting firm McKinsey & Company expects that countries in sub-Saharan Africa such as Ethiopia will emerge as the next global hub for manufacturing of items such as apparel. The low rates of wage in the manufacturing sectors of these countries give manufacturers a cost advantage.

Sub-Saharan African countries pose some unique challenges too. There is power shortage in most of these countries. Law & order is a problem in countries such as Kenya and Nigeria. Parts of Nigeria are afflicted by the terrorism of Boko Haram. There is also shortage of educated and skilled human resources & managerial talent.  But these challenges can be overcome to avail of the huge growth and export opportunities that sub-Saharan countries offer.

In the sub-Saharan region, Ethiopia stands out for its recent economic performance and political & social stability.  Its power situation is relatively better than neighbouring countries. It has a number of hydro-electric plants. The wages in the country are among the lowest in the region. And the government there is supporting industrial growth.

If you are an entrepreneur or want to become one then it is advisable that you do a course in Entrepreneurship that can inform and educate you about the global opportunities out there.

Large retail chains and the emerging market puzzle

retailSigns

Large retail chains such as Walmart, Carrefour, and Tesco etc are finding it tough to conquer emerging markets. These retailers first tried to implement the same business model that they used in developed markets, in developing ones too. This model was one of having large supermarket or hypermarket stores, located at some distance away from city centers. Most Walmart stores in America are located in suburban areas. Car ownership is high in America and gasoline prices are relatively low. Road network is also good there. Therefore American customers easily drive to suburban Walmart stores when they want to buy grocery or other household items.

In an emerging market such as India, the situation is different. Car ownership is low and gasoline (petrol & diesel) prices are higher, as a proportion of per capita income. Road network is often very poor outside cities. Customers cannot drive to a suburban Walmart store, every time they want to buy grocery, in India. So Walmart’s American business model cannot work in India.

In emerging markets such as India, the need is for smaller stores that are located near the homes of target customers. Many retail chains have started following this small, convenience store model in these markets. The commercial rent for smaller stores is also less. High commercial rent is a major problem in India due to shortage of high-quality retail space.

Consumers in emerging markets too want to have a good shopping experience. They too want to buy products at discounted prices. Retail chains just need to tweak their business model to suit local conditions more. The focus of these chains should not be too much on expansion of number of stores. The focus should be on ensuring profitability. A retail chain should open a new store once the previously opened store has become profitable. Tata group’s Trent chain in India follows this policy and therefore has been a sustainable business for long.

The potential of retail industry is huge in India and other emerging markets. According to a recent report by consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, by the year 2025 consumer spending in emerging economies will rise to $30 trillion. This will amount to half the total global consumption. Retail chains – both domestic and international – which show flexibility in term of business model and do not become too eager about expansion will definitely be able to tap this huge opportunity.

Small Project, Big Opportunities

Project-management-image-finalMany project managers tend to look down on small projects. They prefer big projects over small ones. Having a big project under him or her gives the project manager the feeling of being more powerful and important. However small projects offer many such opportunities that cannot be offered by large projects.

 

A small project usually has small number of team members, limited deliverables and budget and is to be delivered usually in a short duration of time. Small projects offer the project managers the opportunities to learn and try new projects. Some small projects are of high importance but most of them are of relatively less importance. This gives more latitude for decision-making to the project manager. The project manager is able to learn about news areas of business.

 

In large projects there is a large project team. It may not be possible for the project manager to cultivate personal relationships with all the team members. The relationship in such a large project team is usually functional. However in a small project the project team is small. This makes it possible for the project manager to nurture personal relationship with team members. The project becomes a canvas for the project manager to try his interpersonal and leadership skills. Project managers who are unable to manage and motivate small project teams will not be able to manage and motivate large project teams. Small projects prove to be a great learning ground for learning leadership skills. Leadership skills make a project manager more effective and successful.

 

Small projects have relatively smaller time schedule. The results of the project can therefore be seen quickly. The link between the deliverables of the project and the business goals of the organization can be perceived clearly. The project manager and team members get a lot of satisfaction in a short time if the project turns out to be a success.Small projects do not want long-term commitment from the project manager. This means that if a project manager doesn’t like the project after accepting it he or she will get relieved of it relatively sooner. Small projects also carry much less responsibility and are therefore less stressful for the project manager.

 

Sometimes a project manager may have to manage many small projects at the same time. This puts to test the multi-tasking abilities of the project manager.A good project manager is one who is not too much concerned by the size or importance of the project. Such a project manager is just concerned with ensuring that every project that comes under him or her is successful in achieving its goals and objectives.

 

Time Management

time-managementPractice the following techniques to become the master of your own time: Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week.

 

 

 

This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going. You’ll see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions.

 

 

Any activity or conversation that’s important to your success should have a time assigned to it. To-do lists get longer and longer to the point where they’re unworkable. Appointment books work. Schedule appointments with yourself and create time blocks for high-priority thoughts, conversations, and actions. Schedule when they will begin and end. Have the discipline to keep these appointments.

 

 

Plan to spend at least 50 percent of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce most of your results.

 

 

Schedule time for interruptions. Plan time to be pulled away from what you’re doing. Take, for instance, the concept of having “office hours.” Isn’t “office hours” another way of saying “planned interruptions?”

 

 

Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don’t start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time.

 

 

Take five minutes before every call and task to decide what result you want to attain. This will help you know what success looks like before you start. And it will also slow time down. Take five minutes after each call and activity to determine whether your desired result was achieved. If not, what was missing? How do you put what’s missing in your next call or activity?Put up a “Do not disturb” sign when you absolutely have to get work done.

 

 

Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing and e-mails just because they show up. Disconnect instant messaging. Don’t instantly give people your attention unless it’s absolutely crucial in your business to offer an immediate human response. Instead, schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls.

 

 

Block out other distractions like Facebook and other forms of social media unless you use these tools to generate business.

 

 

Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done. Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results.