Redlands Business & Society Blog

News and Views from the University of Redlands School of Business & Society

Leveraging Data to Elevate Business Decisions

While key performance indicators and measurable goals have always been part of effective business management, it wasn’t so long ago that business leaders made decisions based only on their observations, experience, and intuition. That’s because the plethora of data available to businesses now was not conveniently accessible then.

Today, a digital transformation has created a new era of business in which data about every aspect of commerce is readily available, from customer preferences and product performance to supply chain efficiency and workforce engagement. Insight from this data enhances an organization’s ability to set priorities and goals, monitor progress, develop initiatives for improvement within the organization, and balance social, economic, and environmental responsibilities.

Effective modern-day business leaders understand the value of using data to validate anticipated actions before they commit to them. For example, leaders at Nespresso rely on data to inform their positive business framework, which is tied to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These integrated goals aim to help end poverty while improving health, education, and economic growth worldwide by 2030. To meet that commitment, Nespresso developed a dashboard that monitors each farm that supplies the raw materials the company needs. This data enables Nespresso to track biodiversity and sustainability throughout its supplier chain and informs decisions that impact its goals for sustainable development and company growth.

While the ability to use data to make better decisions seems like a reasonable expectation of business leadership, it’s not an intuitive skill. Leaders need to learn what data analytics is and how it relates to business intelligence. They need hands-on experience in using analytics tools to make sense of vast amounts of data and draw applicable insights from it. Once this knowledge is learned, business leaders can apply it to solve problems, discover opportunities, and effectively manage risk for their organizations. They can also establish a data-driven culture where data is an important asset in all decisions.

Our Business Analytics Pillar

Businesses have access to more data than ever before. The concern business leaders have is how to harness that data to make the right decisions. At the University of Redlands School of Business & Society, we take an integrated approach to help our students not only understand how to access, understand, and apply data but how to leverage their skill sets to remain flexible as the data-driven business era evolves.

“To educate the next generation of business professionals, we need to give them the right tools,” says Avijit Sarkar, professor of business analytics and operations research at the School of Business & Society. “Data represents untapped potential for businesses. Teaching analytics helps our students understand how to unlock that potential and use it to solve complex business challenges.”

Our master’s degree program in business analytics is different because of our focus. Students learn how to use data to inform  decision-making that identifies opportunities and manages growth across the business landscape, from marketing and operations to finance and supply chain management and beyond. We also include business analytics in core courses like managerial economics, principles of marketing, and human resources management.

In addition, our students graduate with highly distinctive and technical skill sets that set them apart from others, specifically with our unique focus on spatial business and location analytics across our curriculum. Students learn how to use descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analyses to explore and predict business patterns and generate insight about customers and markets.  The Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA), the MBA with a concentration in Location Analytics, and the graduate certificate in Business Location Analytics are designed to develop spatial business analysts who can incorporate geographic information systems (GIS) and location intelligence to align management principals with spatial business strategy to strengthen a business’s competitive position.


Developing Students as Data-Informed Decision Makers

Leading businesses know that successful implementation of data-driven decision-making requires a leader who can build a data-driven culture. These leaders know how to use business intelligence and analytics tools to make sense of data and use evidence-based decision practice to empower teams within their organizations.

Data-informed decision-making skills, coupled with a solid foundation in business fundamentals, are must-have credentials for successful business leaders. Learn more about the School of Business & Society and how we develop business leaders who know how to leverage data for better decision-making.