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September 09, 2016
Repeating the past, or not!
By: Cherie Oswald

Business managers continually seek to make better business decisions. Specifically, understanding the economy, the marketplace, and their own company within those environments contributes to their ability to make wise decisions for the future. For that reason, managers often turn to descriptive analytics to examine historical data.

Descriptive analytics focuses on examining historical data—trying to describe the trends and relationships seen when comparing different variables to one another over time. Consider the impact of the Internet on brick-and-mortar retailers. At the Internet’s inception, consumers largely used it for researching prices and the features of the products they desired. Many retailers decried the Internet and the impact it made on their businesses.

Yet smart retailers watched this trend closely. Year after year, the proportion of Internet sales has increased. In 2004, ecommerce represented 2 percent of all retail sales in the United States. In 2016, it represents over 7 percent, according to the US Census Bureau. Further, the growth rate of Internet sales is over 16 percent annually, well over the growth of brick-and-mortar retail stores’ sales. Why is the analysis of this trend important? Because brick-and-mortar retailers need to keep pace with growing online sales. Seeing this change in the marketplace, retailers have had to put more resources into developing branded websites. They’ve had to address shipping costs, credit card security, and competitive pricing just to maintain their market share. They are continuously using descriptive analytics to understand how and where their marketplaces are changing and what risks and opportunities are present in the marketplace.

In this course, you will determine how to use descriptive analytics to tackle business questions that can lead you to the right analyses and a better decision. You will identify how to:

  • Define the questions that require answers. For example, how does marketing drive sales? How does volume affect profitability? Also, which questions are most important?

  • Determine various descriptive analytical approaches to analyze the data—for instance, ranking, standard deviations, averaging, variances, trending, correlations, and linear regression.

  • Recognize how to present the analyses for individual audiences and how to present an unbiased and objective analysis.

Do you know what is changing in your industry or within your own business? Do you know what is causing those changes? Moreover, can you control or influence those changes for the better? In the Accenture Academy courses Business Questions That Drive Descriptive Analytic Approaches, Descriptive Analytics to Analyze Historical Data, and Optimal Presentation of Descriptive Data Analysis, you will identify the importance of describing the past to direct the future. You will also determine how to be like those retailers who moved into the Internet and not away from it.

About Accenture Academy

Accenture Academy offers proven, cost-effective learning solutions for a more versatile workforce and a more agile organization. We provide a flexible learning approach that helps your people be more versatile and your entire organization be more agile in the marketplace. Curriculum includes Supply Chain Management, Finance, Procurement, Analytics, Leadership & Management and Specialty Skills.

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