Whether you are a small business owner who needs to wear all of the company hats, or someone with a defined job in a given corporate structure, understanding and using different types of data should be a very big part of any kind of analysis and future planning you undertake. The “Big Data” market, which revolves around business analytics, was $169 billion in 2018 and is projected to grow to more than $270 billion by 2020.
As business is money and money is business, data analysis skills are a must-have for small business owners and anyone working in finance, marketing, supply chain, human resources, and more. Here are some of the best data analysis tools you can use today.
Microsoft Excel has been part of the Microsoft Office suite since before the new millennium. Generally referred to as a digital spreadsheet program, it offers so much more, especially when it comes to the quick and easy-to-use analysis of the information found on the spreadsheets. One step up, and still relatively easy to use with a baseline knowledge of data, is a sister product from Microsoft called Power BI. It is specifically designed for business analytics and offers tutorials and other options to help novice users.
SAP BusinessObjects is a good bridge program, as it is geared towards less-technical users, but is programmed to allow for complex programming an analysis as users expand their knowledge (or hire a data analyst).
Worth it to Learn
Inputting the correct formulas in programs like Excel is, to an extent, a form of programming, but for data analytics, programming languages R and Python exist for the sole purpose of data analysis and are exceptional resources when it comes to predictive analysis. ETL Tools are programs that prepare your company for growth, and makes it very easy to compile and move large amounts of data; Talend is a very popular choice for ETL.
If you’re company works remotely a lot (or completely, as many are trending towards since forced remote work due to COVID-19), cloud-based technologies of all sorts are essential. Excel is easy to upload and download and share amongst workers, but there are some other, more in-depth data tools, made for the telecommuting world. A few good ones to check out are Qlik, Tableau, and Google Data.
For more advanced workings, there are also cloud-based analytic tools like Jupyter Notebook that utilize R and Python generated data.
There are also many options on the pricier side for companies that revolve completely around data. If you’re willing to spend the money, there are some full-service programs/services like HubSpot that allow for multiple users, and provide tons of automatically generated feedback and analysis of your data. These also tend to be more secure choices for companies that do a lot of transactions online.
Time to Work
This list is not exhaustive, and there are several other things you should weigh when choosing your analytics tools. The least important not being your business model. Some are geared better for finance, some for customer service, some for supply chain, and so on. Luckily, with the data industry growing as rapidly as it is, so are your options for competitive software.
If you are a small business owner, an understanding of data analysis tools is essential for remaining competitive. From sports to healthcare to poker, analytics is the fine-tuning behind every great performer, and with the industry growing so rapidly, hiring a professional in the field is certainly an option that should be weighed heavily.