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Faculty Perspective: Competing Through Business Analytics

10 Dec

Joe Wilck, Online MSBA Faculty Director


Business analytics can be defined as the use of analytics to guide business actions or business decisions; it is an action-driven approach to a well-defined problem that results in a decision to be made based on analytics-derived data.

But that is not enough.

In order to be competitive—as an individual and as an organization—knowing how to use business analytics and data science for competitive advantage is imperative. This includes optimizing business metrics for performance measurement and incentives, communicating with impact and visualization, knowing the functions of a company (how they interact and what data they have), and developing and deploying algorithms. This type of competition is occurring in every industry and functional area, including operations, supply chain, human resources, finance, healthcare, IT, cloud computing and marketing. Specific areas of application include web analytics, social media analytics, forecasting, simulation, risk assessment and management, customer behavior, accounting/auditing, and finance.

“Competing Through Business Analytics” means developing business acumen along with the technical skills to use machine learning, heuristics, algorithms and artificial intelligence on big data to derive competitive insights. It ensures that an individual can effectively communicate insights from data clearly and succinctly such that the relevance and importance of the message being communicated is readily apparent to managers and decision makers. And it entails the ability to describe insights and complex analytical results comprehensively yet succinctly, using non‐technical managerial terminology.

The bottom line is: It is not enough to just know business analytics methodologies. You and your organization need problem solvers who can take data from chaos to clarity. The William & Mary Online MSBA program prepares individuals to do just that. Learn more about our program and our students here.

Joe Wilck is the former faculty director for the Online MSBA program at William & Mary.