Data analytics — definition, tools, and getting started

A man stands in a suit against a backdrop of city skyscrapers while holding a silver laptop in one hand and typing with the other as he processes data analytics.

What is data analytics?

Data analytics is the process of examining large amounts of quantitative and qualitative data. It’s useful for companies looking to understand and predict business trends. If companies can understand these trends in advance, you can draw out meaningful, actionable insights to make smarter business decisions.

Data analysts are often expected to predict the future in the business world, or it can sometimes seem that way. They extract raw data, organize it, and then analyze it. Once their analysis is complete, they transform those large data sets into understandable insights that other stakeholders can act on.

So, what tools do data analysts use? Typically, they’re well-versed in software like Microsoft Excel and programming languages such as SQL, R, SAS, and Python. They use these tools to carry out data mining, statistical analysis, database management, and sharing their findings with stakeholders. Storytelling and data visualization are useful methods for communicating with stakeholders.

The right insight at the right time can have tremendous financial impact for a company. Some use cases include gaining a deeper understanding of how certain customer groups behave — or how and when employees engage with a particular tool. This information can help companies make intelligent business decisions for the future and course-correct their strategy when necessary. For example, Walmart uses data mining to provide product recommendations to their customers based on items typically bought together.

Getting started with data analytics

When you’re ready to dive into data analytics, begin by identifying which area of your business you’d like to examine more closely. Is there a point in the user journey where participation drops? Is there a worrying lack of returning customers? Zero in on a specific pain point for your business and focus your analysis there. Then begin collecting data for your project.

For those who want the easiest point of entry, Adobe Customer Journey Analytics lets you mix, match, and analyze data from any digital point in the customer journey. With in-depth analysis, versatile reporting, and predictive intelligence, you get the insightful foundation you need to build better customer experiences.

Watch an overview video or request a demo to learn how Adobe Analytics can help your business.