Understand the Impact of Data Analysis and Visualization on Business Strategy

Norwich Pro

February 4, 2021

Data analysis and visualization is an emerging field that takes a deep dive into complex data to identify trends, patterns, and insights. The two often work hand in hand to process large volumes of data and visually represent it for greater comprehension. While data analysis performs the calculations, visualization tools such as charts and dashboards report it in meaningful ways so different stakeholders can track trends and draw conclusions for more effective decision-making.

By cleaning, processing, and reporting large volumes of structured and unstructured data from different sources, data analysis and visualization help businesses better understand and predict customer habits, identify business opportunities, plan new product introductions, improve internal processes and find potential problems to mitigate risk.

In real-world situations, car manufacturer Volvo integrated customer data to forecast whether a particular car design or feature would appeal to its customers while pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck improved one of its vaccines by conducting 15 billion calculations and more than 5.5 million batch-to-batch comparisons to determine what environmental and process factors influenced final product quality.  Walmart also bases its strategic decisions on data. Using its state-of-the-art analytics hub called the Data Café, the retail giant can quickly solve complex business questions in just minutes instead of weeks, reports Forbes.

With the growing volume of data, more companies are implementing Big Data analysis and visualization as important coordinated tools to support the business strategy rather than rely on theories or past experience. According to a 2017 Big Data Analytics report conducted by Dresner Advisory Services, the use of data analytics is up by 17% as 53% of companies adopt it in their business strategies. The same report notes that companies place greater strategic importance in data analytics than emerging trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT), natural language analytics, cognitive Business Intelligence (BI), and location intelligence.

As more companies rely on visualization and data analysis to gain a competitive edge, the market has a growing need for data analysts. Individuals interested in exploring or advancing a career in this principle can benefit from Norwich University’s online certificate program in Data Analysis and Visualization that offers coursework on key areas within this field.

What Is the Role of a Data Analyst?

The data analyst is the information guru responsible for deriving meaningful knowledge from volumes of data derived from different digital sources. Among the responsibilities of this role as outlined by Career Explorer include:

  • Work with technology teams, management and/or data scientists to set goals and priorities for the company and department segments.
  • Collect data from primary and secondary sources.
  • Clean and dissect data to remove irrelevant information.
  • Analyze and interpret results using visualization and statistical tools.
  • Model data to show trends and patterns in the customer database.
  • Identify new opportunities to streamline business processes.
  • Generate data reports for management.
  • Design, create, and maintain databases and data systems.
  • Fix code problems and data-related issues.

Data Analyst Background

Most data analysts have completed a relative undergraduate degree or certificate program in addition to having on-the-job experience. The most successful data analysts possess a mix of technical and soft skills as they work with technology and people. Here are some important skills to succeed in this field:

  • Analytical:  Ability to examine large data sets, analyze them, and use tactics to draw conclusions to solve complex problems.
  • Data Visualization: Present findings that reveal important information to different audiences in easily comprehensible formats. Insights help companies make better decisions in their operations.
  • Business Acumen: Understand the industry of their company and problems associated with it to find solutions.
  • Communication:  Translate data into understandable terms and present findings to non-technical audiences.
  • Mathematical and Statistical Analysis:  Knowledge of math and statistics to create reports.
  • Technical Skills: Understand the latest programming languages.

Norwich Online Certificate Program Teaches the Right Skills

While a computer or mathematics degree provides a good background, the most successful data analysts have specialized knowledge in the field. Norwich University’s online certificate program in Data Analysis and Visualization offers specialized courses that help individuals enter the field or hone their skills. Curriculum covers:

  • Analytics and Fundamentals that explores the role of data analytics with an emphasis on data types, formats, and quality. The course also introduces sources, surveys, sampling, and measurement.
  • Deep Excel examines everything about this software program from cell input to creating pivot tables.
  • Data Visualization develops skills in analyzing and graphing data as well as using visualization to portray data for greater comprehension.
  • Data Storytelling teaches how to communicate or tell stories with data in words and narratives to communicate a message in a visual way.

No matter the industry, data analysis and visualization is critical to organizational decision-making. Skills learned in this online certificate program can cross over to other positions such as project manager, data scientist, clinical data analyst, functional analysts, data engineer, and data security administrator.

IBM predicts that the number of jobs for data professionals in the U.S will increase by 364,000 openings to 2,720,000 by 2020. According to Salary List, the average salary of a data analyst is $72,026 but can go as high as $625,000 depending upon company and location. For example, IBM typically pays around $85,610 as an annual salary while Microsoft’s salary ranges from $124,750 to $134,000. Demand is high in finance, insurance, professional services, and IT industries.

A Data Analysis and Visualization Certificate from Norwich University can provide a competitive advantage to enter into a data analyst role in the company of your choice. Find out more about this online program here.

For information on Norwich Pro’s complete roster of certificate programs that develop and deepen professional skills to get ahead in careers or enter new ones, visit https://pro.norwich.edu/.

Have questions? Contact Norwich at https://pro.norwich.edu/contact or by email at norwichpro@norwich.edu.

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