What is data analytics? How has its use in business evolved over time? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using data analytics within a specific company or industry? Are there any challenges or obstacles that business management must overcome in order to implement data analytics? If so, is there a strategy that can be used to overcome those challenges or obstacles? How has data analytics transformed the healthcare industry with regard to customer responsiveness and satisfaction? Within the next ten years, what do you think the trend in using data analytics will be focused on? This paper is aimed to answer all of the questions above. I will use the healthcare industry as the basis for my paper. Many companies are successful in understanding how to meet customer expectations, gain new customers and increase productivity and efficiency by using business intelligence and data analytics. The tools and techniques used by business intelligence give real time insight so that companies can identify opportunities, risks and track trends quickly.
Collecting data alone is useless until it is analyzed. This is where data analytics come in. Data analytics is the process of obtaining and evaluating data using specialized software with the purpose of extracting useful information. (4) Data analytics is used in many industries to allow companies and organizations to make better business decisions quickly. The speed at which data is collected, organized and evaluated is critical given the speed at which technology continues to change. I believe more and more companies are utilizing data analytics so they can gain advantages over their competitors. Technology is obtaining more data than in the past so companies are seeking better ways to receive value from that data. The term business intelligence became popular in the 1900s. Then in the late 2000s, the term business analytics was introduced. In recent years, the terms big data and big data analytics have been used to describe vast amounts of information and the processes and technologies used to analyze, store, and manage that information.
The results of data analytics may be used to identify areas of key risk, fraud, errors or misuse; improve business efficiencies; verify process effectiveness; and influence business decisions. The success of data analytics cannot be achieved if it isn’t aligned to the company’s business objectives, if risk is not properly managed, or the overall process is not planned, designed, implemented, tested and governed effectively. When implementing data analytics, organizational leaders must consider how they can maximize ROI, how it complies with project budgets, how they can manage false positives, and how to ensure the protection and confidentiality of their data sources and results. The process of securing high-quality data can become overwhelming, costly and time consuming. Another issue that makes data analytics time consuming is being able to find useful data, access it and understand how it affects your business.
The healthcare industry is flooded with information from numerous sources. This information is spread among hospitals, primary care providers, researchers, health insurers, and state and federal governments, etc. This is where IT reliability and efficiency comes into play. Management and analysts need to be able to rely on the availability, accuracy, accessibility, and security of their data and information systems. Successfully capturing the information needed from those various sources will work to build sustainable healthcare systems, improve patient care and outcomes, and increase access to quality healthcare for all. Quality healthcare is in high demand. Healthcare companies are seeking ways improve care and reduce costs. For example, UPMC Health Plan wrote its own software application to analyze its vast database comprising information pulled from multiple, disparate sources. This database includes electronic clinical notes, claims data, patient demographics, individuals, self-reported health assessments, pharmacy data, household data, and more.
The company was able to use this software to perform analytics and predictive models to forecast patient behavior and provide preventive care. As a result they were able to improve patient care and manage its resources appropriately to operate more cost effectively. (1) One of the main disadvantages of analytics adoption in the healthcare industry is the ability to find relevant and reliable data. There is an overwhelming amount of data that has to be sorted through to pull out the information that will help a company successfully achieve its goals. Another obstacle or barrier to analytics adoption is the lack of information management. Information must flow and be shared in order to understand how analytics will improve business operations. When information is not managed properly potential opportunities for improvement and/or potential risks could be overlooked because the data is not accessible.
I purpose that a company can overcome these challenges by having skilled personnel in place that understand how data analytics works. Having this person or a team of people with these skills provides an avenue for critical information to flow to management leaders that make key business decisions. The Internet and mobility have made it easier for companies to quickly respond to customers’ needs. You can access a company’s webpage from virtually anywhere; cell phones, tablets, and laptops. Social media connects a company with current and potential customers from around the world.
I predict that the trend in using data analytics within the next ten years for all industries, including healthcare, will continue to increase. Companies and organizations will see the impact has on their competitors and will eventually begin to adopt it into their business practices. Privacy and security of big data should be at the top of every company’s list of priorities. Hackers have been around for a long time but as we have all heard and/or read in the news big businesses are being targeted. There is a plethora of personal information floating around in cyberspace. When companies take a serious look at building up their security, privacy and governance policies they can be better prepared for any threats that may arise.
I assert that data is one of the most important assets for companies and organizations in today’s technological world. We are surrounded by an overwhelming amount of information, especially through the Internet. Being able to connect to people from all over the world and share information in a matter of seconds has forever changed how businesses handle decision-making. The power of data analytics to significantly improve the delivery of patient care is coming to light. My hopes are that by using data analytics the healthcare industry can lower healthcare costs throughout the United States. I believe this will free up billions of dollars that can be spent on repairing and enhancing educational systems around the country.
1. Manyika J, Chui M, Brown B, Buhin J, Dobbs R, Roxburgh C, Byers AH: Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition, and Productivity. USA: McKinsey Global Institute; 2011.
2. 2011 MIT Sloan Management Review LaValle S, Hopkins M, Lesser Eric, Shockley R, Kruschwitz N “Big Data, Analytics and the Path From Insights to Value.”
3. MIS Quarterly Vol. 36 No.4, pp. 1165-1188/December 2012 Chen H, Chiang R, Storey V “Business Intelligence and Analytics: From Big Data to Big Impact.
4. Turban, E., & Volonino, L. (2013). Information technology for management advancing sustainable, profitable business growth, 9th edition (9th ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.