One question I hear again and again from clients is, "Just whatis business analytics?" Sounds like a simple question - one that any IT person should be able to answer quickly and accurately. It turns out, however, that the answer is not so simple, and the definition always depends on whom you ask. I'd like to throw my opinion into the fray.

Over the years, in dealing with hundreds of analytics-based projects, I have honed my internal definition of the term business analytics, or BA. BA is a process that refers to the use of skill sets, technologies, applications and practices for continuous, iterative exploration and investigation of past business performance. It is used to gain insight and drive business planning. The BA process makes extensive use of data, statistical and quantitative analysis, explanatory and predictive modeling, and fact-based management to drive decision-making.

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