Best Free Business Analytics Resources & Tutorials

Learn about the importance of business analytics in modern business operations, the tools and techniques used in the field, and the available resources for mastering business analytics. Understand how you can transition into a lucrative career in business analytics with the right blend of technical and business skills.

Key Insights

  • Business Analytics involves using quantitative methods, statistical models, and data analysis to solve business problems, and relies on iterative and methodological exploration of an organization's data.
  • Business Analysts need to understand both the business and the technologies needed to transform its data into valuable insights.
  • The roles of Business Analysts and Data Analysts overlap but differ in the usage of data; Business Analysts use data to help their organizations make more effective decisions.
  • There are multiple free resources available online for learning business analytics; these include courses, blogs, tutorials, and video lessons.
  • Noble Desktop offers both in-person and live online courses in business analytics, providing hands-on, project-based instruction from industry experts.
  • Salary prospects in business analytics are promising, due to high demand for professionals equipped with both business knowledge and technical skills.

There are plenty of professionals who are eager to learn business analytics but hesitate because of the perceived up-front costs. The tools most Business Analysts use range in price; subscriptions to Microsoft Business Basic start at $6/user/month, Tableau Public is available for free, and SQL is also offered for free to Developers and Testers who use it for non-production purposes. In addition, there are a number of free resources available to help beginners get started learning business analytics.

Read on to learn more about the different types of free resources and tutorials available to help you learn business analytics. 

What is Business Analytics?

Business Analytics is a group of technologies and disciplines, such as quantitative methods, statistical models, and data analysis, which are used to solve business problems. It relies on iteratively and methodologically exploring an organization’s data using statistical analysis techniques to make better, data-driven decisions. This involves a practical application of statistical analysis geared toward uncovering actionable recommendations.

Many companies view their data as a business asset and continue to explore ways to use it for a competitive advantage. To be successful with business analytics, an organization must have good quality data, as well as Business Analysts who not only understands the business but also the technologies needed to transform its data into insights. Business Analysts seek to draw concrete conclusions about a company by finding answers to questions such as why certain events happened, what is expected to occur in the future, and what actions can be done in the present.

Most business analytics tasks are descriptive, predictive, or prescriptive. Descriptive analytics involves analyzing historical data to discover how an organization could respond to specific variables. Predictive analytics examines historical data to predict the likelihood of specific future outcomes. Prescriptive analytics is a combination of descriptive and predictive analyses; it involves formulating a process with which users can anticipate what is expected to happen, when it will occur, and why it will transpire. Business Analysts rely on tools and skills such as data mining, association and sequence identification, text mining, data aggregation, forecasting, optimization, and data visualization to gather and present these data-driven insights.

Read more about what business analytics is and why you should learn it.

What Can You Do with Business Analytics?

Business analytics is one of the most versatile skill sets you can bring to the professional arena. All businesses, from small startups to multinational companies, seek those with a background in business analytics who can work with data to solve complicated problems, devise useful business strategies, and clearly communicate with stakeholders. Most Business Analysts have a background working with technology and programming languages like C++ and Java, as well as various databases and testing methods. These individuals typically possess technical and business skills, making them high-demand among recruiters and employers. 

Business Analysts are typically good problem solvers. They can analyze problems and apply critical thinking to propose innovative solutions that consider variables such as market trends. These individuals also tend to have an analytical mindset, which allows them to apply statistical models to analyze large datasets. Their analytic skills help Business Analysts perform tasks like understanding consumer buying decisions and behaviors and using this information to formulate a marketing strategy.

Business Analysts are usually expert communicators. They can clearly communicate their data findings and present these insights to different teams on both the business and technical sides. This often requires adapting their communication style to best reach different audiences. These individuals also possess time-management skills to balance multiple project deadlines and perform under pressure.

What’s the Difference Between Business Analytics and Data Analytics?

Often, the fields of business analytics and data analytics are confused. While both fields have overlapping skill sets and tools, there are some key differences. The process of data analytics involves performing analysis on datasets to locate patterns and trends that can be applied to an organization’s decision-making process. On the other hand, business analytics focuses more on analyzing information so that data-driven decisions can be made, which subsequently lead to changes being implemented within the organization. Those who work in business analytics use the findings of data analysis to spot problems and pose solutions.

Both Business Analysts and Data Analysts work with data. However, the main difference between these two professions pertains to how this data is then used. Data Analysts tend to be more invested in collecting and analyzing business data. They then allow businesses to evaluate their findings and make independent decisions. Business Analysts work with data to help their organization make more effective decisions about their business.

Free Online Resources for Learning Business Analytics

If you’re interested in learning business analytics but don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on study, you can get started with free online tutorials, videos, and tutorials. The following is a list of some learning options currently available for free:

  • Fundamentals of Google Analytics is a free course provided by Skillshare. This introductory-level class is taught by Jeff Sauer, a Google Analytics Strategist. It provides nine lessons, such as setting custom goals pertaining to visitor behavior, using consent groups and segments to gain a more developed audience understanding, and tracking campaigns. This course can be accessed for two weeks for free using Skillshare’s free trial membership.
  • Future Learn’s Decision-making and Risk: An Introduction uses Daniel Kahneman’s model for decision-making. This two-week, introductory-level course teaches students about the risks and barriers to making decisions. Instruction is also provided on data management and the nature of data itself. This course is offered for free for four weeks for those who sign up for an account.
  • The BA Times is an excellent online resource for Business Analysts. This blog provides access to thousands of articles, templates, jobs, books, and webinars pertaining to business analytics.
  • Adaptive US is another business analytics blog. It contains 200 articles written by Business Analyst experts on topics like IIBA certification.
  • Bridging the Gap was a blog created nearly fifteen years ago. In the time since it’s helped thousands of Business Analysts advance their careers. This resource offers job resources, as well as virtual coursework for those who want to advance in their current job or explore new business analytics career options.
  • Business Analysts is an Australian-based blog that’s been around for more than a decade. It provides weekly posts on business analysis that can help organizations become more efficient, break down barriers, and achieve sustainable growth.
  • Guru 99’s Business Analysts Training Tutorial offers those who are new to the field of business analytics free, introductory-level training. Tutorials are available on topics such as the roles, responsibilities, skills and certifications for Business Analysts, performing stakeholder analysis and mapping, and the process and techniques used in business analysis.
  • For learners who want to study a field related to business analytics, Noble Desktop provides a range of Data Analytics Blog and Learn Resources. Articles are available on topics like working with Tableau for data visualization, the importance of learning SQL for data analysis, working with Excel for data management, and the differences between using R and Python for data analytics. In total, more than 150 articles are posted. 

Key Insights

  • Business analysis is a research discipline focused on helping individuals pinpoint business needs and find solutions to any business-related problems.
  • Business analytics is closely related to the field of data analytics. One key difference between the two pertains to how data is used. Business Analysts tend to be more involved with their organization’s decision-making process, whereas Data Analysts concentrate more on the data itself rather than the decision-making process.
  • If you want to begin learning about business analytics, you may consider exploring free online resources such as blogs, tutorials, and videos. 
  • A great way to learn more about business analytics is to sign up for one of Noble Desktop’s in-person or live online courses. 

Learn Business Analytics with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

If you want to study business analytics, Noble Desktop offers several excellent classes to prepare you to work as a Business Analyst. Noble’s Business Analyst Certificate is available in both the in-person and live online format. Participants in this hands-on course learn how to work with tools such as Tableau, SQL, PowerPoint, and Excel to analyze and visualize data. All participants receive live, project-based instruction from industry experts and can retake the course for up to one year to revisit the material.

For those who want to learn more about working with big data, Noble also has an in-person and live online Data Analytics Certificate. All participants receive one-on-one mentoring with tuition. This course is available in the full-time format that spans six weeks, as well as the part-time format of 24 weeks of evening classes. This project-based course covers core data analytics concepts and skills like collecting, wrangling, analyzing, and visualizing data. In addition, participants prepare for a career in business analytics or data analytics by reviewing case studies that incorporate both predictive and prescriptive analytics.

Those interested in comparing learning options can also browse Noble’s in-person and live online data analytics and data science classes to find the perfect class.

How to Learn Business Analytics

Master business analytics with hands-on training. Business analytics refers to the use of data to assist with making business decisions, such as investments or policy changes.

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