Redlands Business & Society Blog

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

The Competitive Advantage of an Analytics Business Leader

Business is awash in data. Data captures everything from how customers make buying decisions and how the competition is doing to where inventory is in a supply chain and how satisfied workers are on the job. This data is a gold mine that can help improve decision-making across an enterprise. Insight from McKinsey & Company shows that companies with the greatest overall growth in revenue and earnings receive a significant proportion of that boost from data and analytics.1

However, discovering the value hidden in all that data is a challenge. While data science and analytic tools can extract value from the data, tools won’t discover actionable insights and then communicate the insights in context to stakeholders. Effective business leaders of 21st-century organizations with comprehensive analytic skills must do the discovery and communicating. Using those competencies, leaders can create data and analytics strategies to propel their businesses and establish a culture driven by the data. They can also view holistically how to address business questions and needs through data, how to make ethical and legal decisions using insight derived from data, and how to use data to develop performance measurement tools and assess return on investment.

Finding business leaders who can apply analytics to business challenges is not easy. Insight from a recent Deloitte survey indicates that many businesses are experiencing an analytics leadership vacuum. Access to talent is one of the most significant barriers to building analytical capability for businesses.2

A Forward-Thinking Focus on Analytics Education for Business Leaders

To dismantle those barriers, the University of Redlands School of Business & Society has taken a multipronged approach to prepare tomorrow’s business leaders with the skills necessary to achieve data-driven goals.

First, we developed three different analytics education pathways that combine hands-on activities and real-world case studies to inform and educate leaders who want to impact business at the top levels of their organizations. These include:

  • MBA with a Concentration in Location Analytics. This program is designed to equip students with the skills to unlock the potential of spatial data, solve real-world problems, and gain a competitive advantage in today’s business world. Coursework prepares students to use the power of location intelligence to improve decision-making, organizational performance, and business development. They learn how to leverage location analytics to gain competitive advantage on a local, regional, national, and global scale.
  • Master of Science in Business Analytics. Our unique curriculum focuses on information technology, geographic information systems, management information systems, and business management to help graduates gain the edge they need to succeed in a data-driven economy. They gain expertise in harnessing the power of business analytics to develop meaningful insights and make strategic, ethical decisions; identify new revenue streams for their organizations; and help their companies and themselves achieve competitive advantage.
  • Business Location Analytics Certificate. This online three-course graduate certificate program helps mid- to senior-level professionals, business strategists, and technical analysts in the private sector gain valuable skills in GIS and location analytics to enhance business decision-making and visual storytelling skills. Students learn how to deploy location analytics to digitally transform the enterprise and gain customer insights, manage risk, and expand the business.

We also took a novel approach to incorporating location analytics, or geographic information system (GIS) applications, into curricula. The use of GIS in business is growing every day, with the global GIS and location analytics industry expected to grow from $8.1 billion in 2020 to $14 billion by 2025.3 A University of Redlands survey shows just how important GIS and location analytics fit into effective business models. Results showed that:

  • 86 percent of businesses use location analytics in more than one organizational function.
  • 59 percent perceive value in location-based business and consumer insights.
  • Over 20 percent of businesses are currently best-in-class, spatially mature enterprises.

In light of that data, we established the Center for Spatial Business and the Spatial Business Initiative with Esri, the global leader in GIS and mapping software. This unique partnership has created a leading center for the study of location analytics and provides students with unparalleled access to insights, case studies, real-world expertise, spatial business developments, and career connections.

“Esri is proud to be a part of this groundbreaking initiative,” says Jack Dangermond, Esri founder and president. “Education has always been an important part of our mission. The business world is increasingly relying on spatial data today to make better-informed decisions, so it is more important than ever that students have a foundation in location intelligence.”

An Ethical Approach to Business and Analytics

Our programs also focus on business development by uniquely addressing the impact of business in society via ethics, social responsibility, and purposeful leadership. While data-driven decision-making is an important driver in successful 21st-century business, ethical considerations must be examined to use data analytics responsibly.

“This is a new era of business management and business leadership and it’s incumbent upon business schools like ours to step up our game to prepare students to be those new business leaders,” says Thomas A. Horan, dean of the Redlands School of Business & Society. “Our programs are not only designed to prepare students to excel in this new era of data-driven business but to ensure they will be effective within their organization in a manner that makes a positive difference to their employees, customers, and the world in which they operate."

Making Business and Analytics Education Affordable and Accessible

Earning your degree or completing your certificate program is a positive investment in your career and costs you less than you might think at the Redlands School of Business & Society. You may be entitled to a tuition discount from your employer or qualify for financial aid, veterans’ education benefits or reduced tuition rates, or reduced tuition for returning alumni.

University of Redlands School of Business & Society also partners with Esri to award $200,000 in Esri-funded scholarships for students in our analytics program of study:

  • Esri-UR Women of Color Analytics Scholarship: Available to women of color applying for the MBA with location analytics concentration or M.S. in Business Analytics
  • Esri-UR Merit Analytics Scholarship: Available to anyone applying to the MBA program with a location analytics concentration or M.S. in Business Analytics program with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.5

Connect with the University of Redlands School of Business & Society to learn more about how we develop business leaders who know how to leverage data for better decision-making.

  1. McKinsey& Company. Catch Them If You Can: How Leaders in Data and Analytics Have Pulled Ahead.
  2. The Analytics Advantage.
  3. Research and Markets. Geographic Information System Market.