Business analytics is the practice of combining key data about organizational performance to improve planning and performance. Business analytics can be used to evaluate an organization’s overall performance, or specific KPIs that are critical to a business unit, process, project or product.
According to Gartner, business analytics “includes data mining, predictive analytics, applied analytics and statistics, and is delivered as an application suitable for a business user. These analytics solutions often come with prebuilt industry content that is targeted at an industry business process (for example, claims, underwriting or a specific regulatory requirement).”
Business analytics makes extensive use of statistical and quantitative analysis (and, to a lesser degree, qualitative analysis). Statistical analysis identifies trends, with the ultimate goal of employing predictive analytics to determine next moves. Quantitative analysis uses statistical and mathematical modeling, measurement and research to analyze data to determine the effects of a past decision on the business. Quantitative analysis provides hard numbers to help determine how things can be done better in the future.