What is Business Analytics and why the hype

Business analytics refers to the skills, technologies, applications and practices for the exploration and investigation of existing data assets to gain insight and drive business planning. It focuses on developing new insights and understanding of business performance based on data, predictive analytical models, data mining models, intelligent tools and statistical methods. Business Analytics is used for strategic, operational and tactical decision making across industry verticals such as banking, financial services, telecom, manufacturing and retail.

While at its core essence, it is making sense of the data assets, residing within the organizations information repository, in practice, it entails a lot more that what meets the eye. Analysis of divergent and rapidly increasing data assets is more challenging than it looks. This is why this discipline is fast emerging as one of the major areas of interest. Today, it has been rightly pointed out in Harvard Business Publishing, that the job of the “data scientist” is the “sexiest role” among all business oriented and fast growth careers.

A brief sneak peek into the domain reflects that it comprises of the following building blocks at its very core:


These building blocks form a cascade of competencies, which has boosted and positioned the business analytics industry and professionals to grow in leaps and bounds. Some of the industry highlights are indeed interesting and has lots of food for thoughts.

Industry Highlights

Following industry facts highlight the need to focus on Business Analytics as a specialization

  • Worldwide business intelligence and analytics software, consisting of BI platforms, corporate performance management suites, analytic applications and advanced analytics, totalled $14.4 billion in 2013, an 8 percent increase from 2012 revenue of $13.3 billion (Forbes, 2014). Sounds Staggering? But this is just the tip of the ice berg.
  • The Advanced and Predictive Analytics (APA) software market is projected from grow from $2.2B in 2013 to $3.4B in 2018, attaining a 9.9% CAGR in the forecast period (Forbes, 2014). Huge right?
  • Analytic Applications and Performance Management generated $2B in revenue in 2013, representing 13.9% market share in the global IT industry.  BI platforms were the majority of sales in 2013, generating $8.5B in revenues and a 59% market share. (Forbes, 2014)
  • Global spending on Big Data hardware, software and services will grow at a CAGR of 30% through 2018, reaching a total market size of $114B. The average business expects to spend $8M on big data-related initiatives this year (A.T. Kearney, 2014). Looks like in the days to come, Hadoop professionals will rule the rooster.
  • Cloud-based Business Intelligence (BI) is projected to grow from $.75B in 2013 to $2.94B in 2018, attaining a CAGR of 31%. (Forbes & Redwood Capital, 2014). This is indeed interesting, considering the recent onslaught of SMAC as a disruptive technology which is capturing so much of attention.
  • 50% of organizations will consider deploying BI in the cloud from a tactical standpoint.
  • According to Global Data Analytics, by 2015, the data analytics market in India is expected to reach $1.15 billion to become 21 per cent of the overall Indian KPO market opportunities of $5.6 billion. (Business Standard, 2012).
  • Business Standard reported that US, which is the biggest market for data analytics, is estimated to have a shortage of 140,000 – 190,000 analytics professionals by 2018.
  • McKinsey estimates that India would need 200,000 data scientists in the next few years, majority of who would address the needs of developed economies.
  • The domestic spending on IT is expected to grow 16% to $47.4 billion in 2014, according to IDC. the core focus areas for new projects would include business analytics and mobile apps for different departments. (Economic Times, 2014).
  • According to Nasscom, Indian product firms have shown a growth rate of 20%-40% in the last few years and is expected to continue in the years to come.
  • Further, according to Nasscom, over 100 Indian analytics focussed software firms have successfully developed and launched products catering to niche business needs, cutting across verticals like BFSI, manufacturing, retail, CPG, telecom, etc. So does this trigger the essence of the market needs and the opportunities in the space?

Further, Gartner’s Hype Cycle highlights the potential worth of different technologies and highlights the scope within the IT/ITeS industry for Analytics, for multiple domain specific applications, like social analytics, Neurobusiness, gamification, predictive analytics, web analytics, recommendation engines and many other technologies which use analytics and business intelligence at its backbone.

Further, the scope of job opportunities in India is also extremely bright at the moment. The snapshot of the Indian companies, presented in the matrix, offer potential recruiters for the participants of such a program, specializing in Business Analytics, since they are on a hiring spree. These product firms thus have major talent requirements in the future.

The entry level annual salary for analytics professional in India is INR 6-9 lakh and INR 5-8 lakh for big data professionals. Entry level salaries will grow by 5-10%; for those with five years of experience it will grow by 10-15%. (Staffing Industry Analysts report, 2013). Thus the prospects of trained practitioners in the domain is extremely good.

Essentially, this is more of an interdisciplinary competency, where domain specific bundles of competencies may come from multiple interdisciplinary courses and areas. An insight of what could be such bundles of courses and competencies is provided in the diagrammatic representation below.


So today, what does this means for the budding professionals.

Globally, many of the leading universities have started offering courses specifically focusing on business analytics. These courses have attempted to address the needs of the day and cater to the emergent trends and research surrounding the domain. Some of the courses which stand out are as follows:


All the IT professionals and professionals with management background need to gear themselves to meet the immediate needs in this data revolution. While the training and development process is complicated, the benefits far outweigh the costs. Indeed, today, bundles of competencies within the domain of Business Analytics would create a fast developing professional career, poised for long growth.