In addition to bringing advanced expertise in finance and accounting, economics and leadership skills to the workplace, a skill set that was once the exclusive domain of IT and data professionals is rapidly becoming a requirement for business success.

Analytics is an essential management skill that enables data-literate leaders to accelerate decision-making processes, increase efficiency and productivity, and acquire deeper insights into customer behaviors, preferences and other key performance indicators.

In total, data-driven strategies developed at the leadership level drive growth, create opportunities for innovation and produce competitive advantages.

Data literacy is “the ability to explore, understand, and communicate with data in a meaningful way. This can be on different levels: technically and advanced, or on a much more basic level.” Managers and executives skilled in using self-service data analytics software and systems are also critical players in successfully adopting a data-centric culture.

In programs like the online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Concentration in Data Analytics from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (UW-Parkside), these professionals can develop and foster a greater understanding of current and potential data analytics resources.

Why Is it Important for Business Professionals to Have Advanced Analytics Skills?

Software and systems continuously evolve as developers discover new ways to manage the tidal waves of data that threaten to overwhelm businesses of all sizes. Those innovations accelerate the transformation of digital information into digestible insights and streamline access to them.

A few of the analytics tools that successful business leaders use include:

Business Intelligence

Microsoft Power BI is a business intelligence platform that enables leaders at all levels to create detailed data visualizations that support collaboration within and across operations. The self-service tool provides comprehensive descriptive and diagnostic analytics that bridge the gap between data and decision-making and accelerate assessments of key performance indicators across the enterprise.

Data Visualization

Tableau is an 11-time leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant of integrated analytics and business intelligence systems. It delivers an intuitive, self-service user interface that can be scaled across enterprises to “democratize” access to sophisticated analytics, enabling non-technical business leaders to use data confidently and effectively. Tableau is widely recognized as a leading tool for creating powerful data visualizations of trends, patterns and outliers in large, complex data sets.

Machine Learning

Google Analytics 4 supports machine learning (ML) across companies’ online consumer-facing platforms — including websites, micro-sites and social media — and creates opportunities to enrich the customer experience. ML algorithms, for instance, learn from initial data sets to predict e-commerce activity and continue to update themselves as new data is acquired. The advanced technology also enables segmenting potential customers to precisely target online advertising and targeting campaigns to reduce unprofitable churn.

Workflow Efficiency produces software that collects, organizes and analyzes data throughout the organization to support optimization in operations from budgeting to sales and marketing. The scalable solution integrates simplified communication processes with management software and enhances cross-team collaboration. Users can create automations to optimize workflow efficiencies, reduce waste, drive productivity and track progress for detailed insights into key performance indicators.

As business leaders come to recognize the potential impact of data on strategy, “attracting and retaining the best talent” remains “a pressing need,” creating strong demand for people with data analytics skills, according to McKinsey & Company.

How Do Business Professionals Acquire Data Analytics Proficiency?

UW-Parkside’s online MBA in Data Analytics program curriculum equips graduates with expertise in advanced business practices supplemented by a focus on high-demand data literacy.

The AACSB-accredited program introduces students to technologies that support data-driven decision-making and advanced strategic management. Electives focus on analytics-centric topics such as:

  • Technologies for data analytics, including database technologies and programming
  • Supply contract methods, inventory management techniques, network planning, distribution strategies and supply chain decision-making in times of uncertainty
  • Quantitative techniques that enhance decision-making, risk analysis and multicriteria decisions

The rich, interdisciplinary program prepares graduates for high-demand roles such as data analyst, business analyst, advanced analytics professional and data analytics manager.

Learn more about UW-Parkside’s online Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Data Analytics program.