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Business analytics

What are business analytics?

Business analytics (BA) comprise a set of skills, practices and methods used by businesses committed to data-driven decision-making. BA employs statistical analysis and iterative, continuous exploration of a company’s data and past business performance to gain insight and drive business planning.

What are the business benefits of business analytics?

Analytics can be a powerful business acceleration tool. Using advanced analytics, businesses in all sectors, whether B2B or B2C, are learning more about their customers and turning those insights into revenues and profits.

These insights also enable greater understanding of business performance due to faster analytics and reporting, improved data quality, and more informed decision-making and planning. BA normally focuses on data and statistical methods, using a consistent set of metrics to measure past performance and guide future business direction, enabling businesses to continuously improve their operations over time.

What are the biggest business challenges encountered with analytics?

Many organizations struggle to effectively use analytics capabilities to shape the customer experience, leading to missed customer insights and disappointing financial returns from their analytics and information management investments. The reason many companies fall short is they fail to assess where they are in their business efforts, where they want analytics to take them, and how they will get there.

Part of the problem lies in defining what analytics means today. Many businesses still consider the routine reporting they receive via operational dashboards to be analytics. While dashboards are useful, they describe events that have already occurred, such as trends over time. The real power of analytics is predicting events and prescribing a path for obtaining specific outcomes, such as identifying customers whose credit card payments will be delinquent in 60 days, and then proactively contacting them.

Other examples include spotting policyholders researching coverage options, then offering them coverage tailored to their needs or crunching through click-stream data to identify shoppers ready to buy.

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