Wouldn’t it be helpful if businesses facing imminent disaster could have had a way to predict the difficulties they face? With the power of prediction, however, it is possible. This isn’t magic, but a scientific art involving data collection, analysis and application.
Businesses can use the informed advice of data analysts to budget and structure properly, adapt to the ever-changing business environment of their industries, prevent losses, unexpected layoffs and resulting low employee morale.
Predictive Science and Big Data
Data analysts use predictive science and big data to process data and make valuable predictions and recommendations to business owners. They do this using big data — data that is collected in very large amounts and houses a wide variety of information.
This type of data is easier to come by thanks to the internet. Giants like Facebook and Google collect massive amounts of data, meaning analysts have a large data pool for selection. Increasingly, businesses are also demanding metrics to prove return on investment (ROI) from marketers, so marketing teams are now routinely in the business of gathering data on reach, engagement and conversions to prove the value of their marketing efforts.
Data analysts and data scientists know how to identify the right internally and externally sourced data to answer questions about the future of your business and predict market changes. In an era of increasing automation and rapid industry shifts, these massive amounts of real-time data are essential to maintaining a competitive edge.
For these reasons, the predictive analytics market was valued at $4.56 billion in 2017 and is expected to meet $12.41 billion in 2022. That massive growth expresses the value of analysts and the competitive need for them across a variety of industries.
Identifying Unhealthy Business Trends
One of the best ways to save money and increase production or service delivery is to find and steer clear of harmful trends within your business. How might this have helped businesses in the recent past? Open office spaces come to mind.
In the last decade, startups and even large corporations started adopting open-office floor plans, which supposedly create more collaboration and a friendlier vibe in the office. In fact, open-office plans were the norm and cubicles were created and installed to provide relief from the pressures of an open floor plan. But do open-office workspaces truly lead to increased productivity?
Perhaps not. Over the years, open offices have proven to be highly distracting. Employees can get caught up in way too much socializing. Furthermore, the fact that management could look over a worker's shoulder at any time can make employees feel constantly on edge, anticipating the cons of micromanagement. Although correcting this falls to HR, an analyst might have been able to detect the negative effects of open-office layouts sooner. Using the power of Google and keyword research tools, an analyst could have easily spotted the increasing dissatisfaction with open office floor plans solely based on Google searches. Even a simple search on Answer the Public reveals that people are searching for “how to survive an open office plan” and “why open office plans are bad.” It doesn’t take an analyst to determine that businesses considering open office plans should have done a little more research instead of jumping on board a trend that kills productivity.
The Expense of Unanticipated Failure
When considering whether an analyst is worth the investment, it’s important to examine the potential expense of charging ahead blindly towards failure. A key example: Samsung had to replace over a million Galaxy Note 7 phones and handle major legal issues thanks to their phones overheating. Airlines banned them and consumers were not happy. Over a hundred users experienced “exploding phones” and sought legal action against Samsung. Beyond that, the public relations disaster was likely expensive, with Samsung not only having to replace potentially defective phones but also losing the trust of many consumers.
With the help of an analyst, problems like this can be detected thanks to brand monitoring, and businesses can respond quickly to reports of malfunctioning products.
Analysts can help when it comes to managing any problems you’re unaware of, blind to, or for some reason, in denial of. They’re like editors who can inform you of potential problems before you write a book and also double-check your work before it goes to print. If you don’t want to be without that crucial safety net, it’s time to add an analyst to your team.
Devin Morrissey prides himself on being a jack of all trades; his career trajectory is more a zigzag than an obvious trend, just the way he likes it. You can follow him on Twitter.