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Have a Passion for the Problem, Not the Solution”

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Have a Passion for the Problem, Not the Solution.

The key to a successful business? Problems! People are always going to have problems. And your job as a business owner? To solve these problems for your loyal clients. Seems easy enough, right? Sort of.

Your client probably doesn’t care about your solution until you paint a picture of the problem you solve for them. A marketing strategy based on the challenges you help your clients overcome instead of the products and services you offer shifts the focus back to where it should be — the customers.

Customers almost always know what their problems are (unless they haven’t come across them yet) but they don’t know how to solve them. That’s where you come in.

A common issue with this theory is that people are always searching for the newest, best and quickest way to fix their problems and move on to the next task. The rapid pace of today’s business and tech worlds has proven to be a problem in itself for some companies. It’s as simple as: Do your best and work your hardest or else you won’t have a company to run anymore. So that’s up to you.

B2B customers have learned to ignore the flashy promotion of features and benefits and focus on how your product can solve an issue — their issue. CEOs and executives have been retrained to ask, “How is your product going to fix our problem?” “Why do we need it?” “What will happen if we decide to go with your service?”

How to Inject Problem Solving Into Your Marketing

People like when things are simple. Instead of naming various product features, focus on the main reasons why the customer will be better off with what you are providing. Highlight the benefits of your product in the simplest way possible. Every feature included in your product should offer a clear benefit.

Convincing a potential customer that they need a solution is easy. Convincing a potential customer that they need YOUR solution is what poses a challenge.

Place the focus on unique features of your product that will quickly and easily remedy your potential customers’ pain points. Make sure to highlight how the tool that you’re offering is different from other players within the market, but don’t overdo it. Nothing turns people off faster than someone over hyping their product just to make a quick buck.

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So What Now?

  1. Identify common problems that your product solves.
  2. Research. Ask some of your best customers what their most pressing pain points are. Don’t have any “best customers” yet? Conduct research online. Google is your best friend.
  3. Consolidate your findings and craft a list of commonly reported issues that your product can solve.

Companies that have shifted their marketing messages to highlight the problems they solve and the results they deliver are thriving in 2018. Things are changing, and you must stay current with the latest business trends to keep your business afloat.

About the Author

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Sydney Ergle, November 26th, 2018

Sydney Ergle, a graduate from Kennesaw University, is part of SplashBI’s next generation of marketing minds. Sydney oversees SplashBI’s social media, email campaigns, and in her free time likes to hang out with her cat, Tim Beans.

The Power of Hierarchy Blog Header

The Power of Hierarchy in HR

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Hierarchies have gotten a bit of a bad reputation. “Hierarchical” is sometimes used to describe an organization with a rigid structure filled with bureaucracy. It sounds old and stodgy. Nowadays, we’re all about teams. However, people still report to managers and organizations need hierarchies. Everybody can’t be accountable to everybody. I think of hierarchies as accountability trees. In a good culture, hierarchies foster and protect people, not corral and pigeonhole them.

Now let’s talk about analytics. Standard business analytics sort things by location, department or general ledger. They analyze the health of a business by looking at lists of things. HR analytics are different in that they analyze people, not widgets or money. Hierarchies are critical to people analytics because they define relationships between people, their managers and their teams. It’s relatively easy to spot individual problems in an organization but it’s difficult to understand why without using a hierarchy.

To discover strengths and weaknesses on an organization’s people, we navigate the hierarchy. It’s an accountability tree and allows for impactful calculations.

Let’s take a look at a fictional company called Datamangle (a data mangling service with 20,000 employees). Turnover is high and it it’s expensive to hire and onboard a new data mangler. The CEO asked Chris in HR to find ways to increase employee retention.

 

Chris jumps into SplashBI and gets to work. Starting at the top of the services hierarchy, Chris looks at turnover for each director. One director, Pat has the lowest turnover by a narrow margin.

Chris then drills into Pat’s organization and sees that one senior manager, Kelly has significantly lower turnover on her team of 60 data smashers and managers. Customer satisfaction is also high for Kelly’s team. Prior to Kelly holding this position, the team’s numbers were similar to the other teams.

Chris drills into Kelly’s team and sees that the managers also have good numbers. The shining star in this story appears to be Kelly.

Hierarchy Org Chart

The data also shows that Kelly’s people log a bit less billable time than her peers’ teams. Chris also discovered that Kelly takes significantly longer to fill open positions. At first glance, this looks bad. Kelly has probably been admonished over this.

A quick phone call to Kelly reveals that she hires very carefully and screens out candidates who aren’t a great cultural fit. Kelly also requires her managers to have 30-minute weekly one-on-ones with their people. It’s probably been difficult for Kelly, but she’s doing lots of things right.

Armed with this data, Chris recommends implementing a similar one-on-one policy for the other services teams. The loss of 30 minutes of billable time is well worth a good employee manager relationship. You’ve probably heard the adage about happy employees resulting in happy customers.

So basically this all boils down to transparency and learning from successful management. The ability to see what is going right in your organization and duplicate it across the board is a necessity in growing a successful business. Now more than ever, with the rise of technology, hierarchical analytics is becoming more important and more tangible.

That’s all this week’s sentiments on the matter, but there will be more on the topic soon. In the meantime check out some of our HR resources to learn more about hierarchy in HR analytics.

About the Author

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Brad Winsor, October 12th, 2018

Brad Winsor, an HR guru with over 20 years of experience, is designing and developing SplashBI’s next generation of HR analytics products as Vice President of Workforce Analytics. Brad previously held the position of Vice President of Workforce Planning and Analytics at PeopleFluent for eight years. During this time, Brad developed an award-winning workforce analytics data discovery tool along with an organizational chart product that is currently a leader in the HR market.

Pt. 2 Data Quality

The Salesforce Admin Series: Data Quality

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Introduction

In the previous entry we discussed missing information; how it ails Salesforce Admins and Analysts, but fortunately we found a few answers. This time we tackle data quality, a necessity for top line reports. Data quality for some admins may seems like an ambiguous term, but it’s much simpler than you’d think. Let’s break it down.

There are 2 components that make up quality data:

  • Cleanliness
  • Accuracy

Clean Data

Most of the time salesforce admins and analysts find it easy to clean data. The reason? They can do it themselves. No relying on IT to perform complicated functions or relying on Salespeople to promptly and properly enter their activities (we’ll get to that in accuracy). Clean data is like a clean house. Everything is in the right place, there is no trash lying around, and nothing is duplicated or incomplete (ok, that last one doesn’t really pertain to house cleaning).

Clean data means that the data in the database is all there (not missing), not duplicated, and up to date. When all these standards are met, your data is relevant. By removing all the broken data, you’re allowing only clean data into your reports, thus directly making them more relevant and useful.

Accurate Data

Now when we talk about data accuracy, we’re talking about making sure the data is entered properly and that there are no mistakes. In other words, the values in the database are the correct values. In the particular case of the SFDC admin, accurate data comes from updating information This is something not entirely in control of the SFDC admin and analyst. The possible 3 hotspots where data becomes inaccurate are:

  • Integrations
    When integrating a new app in Salesforce (or any CRM), admins must make sure data is coming in to the right areas. Otherwise you end up with missing or incomplete data.
  • Imports
    Like integrations, you need to make sure lists are plugging in to the right system.
  • Access
    The more people that have access to enter, edit, and record data in your CRM, the higher chance human error can come into play. Mis entered data, duplicate entries, and data in the wrong spot. It happens. We’re all human.

By monitoring areas where data enters the database, you can ensure that your data is accurate.

When your data is accurate you can more effectively and efficiently connect your departments to each other and improve the communication between them. Accurate data eliminates any questions or ambiguity and puts puzzle pieces together that tell the real story of what’s happening across the departments of your organization.

Data Quality

With good data quality Salesforce admins can get data to show the clear, linear, and chronological steps of a deal and truly make effective reports. Effectively cleaning data enables admins, analysts, and management to investigate their organization and gauge which areas are doing well, and which areas could use some refinement.

To learn more about SplashBI and its amazing ability to improve organizations reporting processes, check out our reporting page. Need Salesforce® specific answers? Visit our Salesforce® connector page to answer all your Salesforce admin related questions.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part 1 of the Salesforce Admin Series: Missing Data.

In part 1 we help you understand why the problem of missing information exists, and provide potential solutions that suit your reporting needs.

Salesforce Admin Pt. 1 Missing Information
Salesforce Admin Pt. 1 Missing Information

The Salesforce Admin Series: Missing Information

By | Blog

Introduction

There are a few problems that you will undoubtedly run into as a Salesforce admin, analyst, or someone who finds themselves building a report from CRM data. Frustrating as it can be, these issues have no definite solution… but we are here to help you understand why these problems exist and provide the tools to pinpoint a unique solution that suits your reporting needs.

Out of the problems likely to present themselves, the most commonly encountered obstacle is missing information. Often the cause of missing information can be narrowed down to three reasons:

1) Salespeople not entering in information
2) Your marketing team is not providing a field for that information to be collected
3) Your team is not gathering that information at trade shows

Sales Team

To discern the origin of these missing information, we will take a heuristic approach. The first step is the easiest and most accessible method of finding out why your information is missing; just ask your salesmen. It may sound accusatory, but it’s not. Sometimes information is missing sheerly because someone did not enter the data.

The quick solution to this problem is to talk with a salesman or sales manager and ensure that standard operating procedure is being followed and enforced. This guarantees that everyone is getting the information they need to help run a successful organization.

Marketing Team

Incomplete data entry is not always the answer to why your information is missing. The problem may lie in how your organization is gathering data. In today’s digital world, many companies acquire leads through online platforms. Typically, the process of digital lead acquisition conforms to:
1) Have interesting content available for download on your website
2) Put a form fill in front of downloadable content
3) Someone visiting your website sees the content and becomes interested
4) The visitor submits their personal information in the form fill
5) Visitor is now able to and does download the content
6) Visitor becomes lead

The important aspect of this process for Salesforce admins, analysts, and report builders to pay attention to is the form fill. This is the key to gathering the information you need. The information this form fill collects is what goes into your CRM. So, if there is a field (first name, last name, company, etc.) missing on the form fill that new leads fill out, you can be sure that is the reason for your missing information.

Tradeshows

The final reason for missing information is very similar to the previous reason, it just takes place in a different setting. At tradeshows, sales representatives and booth operators alike are focused on one thing: booking demos. So much so that collecting CRM information pertinent to your report building can be forgotten from their list of to dos. Again, speaking with the trade show team is the way to remedy
this issue. Prior to the show, ensure that everyone understands what information must be collected from leads and how everyone eventually benefits from this collection of information.

Solving the issue of missing information boils down to two things: the salesforce admin’s ability to understand how the information collecting process takes place in your organization, and how they communicate with the people who facilitate that process. This post is the first of many relating to issues encountered by Salesforce admins, analysts, and report builders, so stay tuned for more!

To learn more about SplashBI and its amazing ability to improve organizations reporting processes, check out our reporting page. Need Salesforce® specific answers? Visit our Salesforce® connector page to answer all your Salesforce admin related questions.

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The Salesforce Admin Series: Month End Reporting

By | Blog

Introduction

So far in our Salesforce Admin Blog series, we’ve covered everything from how to deal with missing data, to tips and tricks for keeping data clean and accurate, to ways that you can efficiently build the best reports for management. In Part 4, we’ll cover what month-end closing time means for SFDC Admins, how to keep up with your data during the chaos and offer tips on how to make your month-end close a little less chaotic.

What does month-end closing time mean for the Salesforce Admin?

You are the steward of data quality and business processes, so you have to be consistent and somewhat of an “enforcer.” During month-end, organizations find it hard to predict how much revenue is truly being generated due to lack of information in their CRM. Data is an extremely valuable asset⸺proper decision making relies on accurate, timely data. If you don’t have the correct data, how will your sales teams know what to improve on next month? What did they do well this time? And most importantly, how can they close more deals?

As an admin, you are responsible for a multitude of ongoing tasks. Your duties range from guiding users through developing their first report, maintaining data quality, adding fields, creating reports, running backups… the list goes on. The best way to ensure that you are ready for end-of-the-month crunch time? Budget your time!

  • Write a to-do list by hand, keep constant reminders of upcoming due dates in your phone, use the calendar feature on your machine⸺Users depend on the Salesforce infrastructure and quality of data, which means they depend on you to deliver that data.
  • You can separate your to-do lists into four categories: real-time, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. Once you have a feel for the way things work around your organization, you’ll know what’s expected of you during that specific time.

When it comes to your responsibilities, staying organized is the best way to ease month-end pain for everyone.

How to keep up with the mountains of data that are being thrown your way

At the end of the month, admins are expected to have reports ready to send out so everyone can review the month’s activities. You’re going to be pulled in many different directions, so paying close attention to detail is imperative to make sure nothing gets mixed up. Always keep track of who requested what and when they asked for it.

Here are some best practices for keeping up with the data:

  • Evaluate bad data records; instead, decide whether you can repair/restore them to a useful state, or ditch them to free up storage space for more useful and usable data.
  • Don’t remove data from your system until you have to, and even then, keep several generations of backup files.
  • Snapshot the “before” state of data whenever you make a change (it could save you in the future).
  • Understand what the roll-back strategy is before taking an action (some actions can take hours to roll back)
  • Emphasize to team members and sales reps the importance of adding their data in a timely manner(marking activities as completed, etc.)
  • Have validation rules and workflow in place where correct data entry can be ensured
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What does all this effort amount to?

With all your data in order, and all your sales reps making an effort to keep things updated, management can learn from the data and plan for upcoming months. Ultimately it leads to a better-managed sales team, a better-managed company, and higher revenues. Not only this, but it leads to less time reconciling data, which -let’s be honest- as an SFDC admin the less data reconciliation you have to do the happier everyone will be!

To learn more about SplashBI and its amazing ability to improve organizations reporting processes, check out our reporting page. Need Salesforce® specific answers? Visit our Salesforce® connector page to answer all your Salesforce admin related questions.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part 1 of the Salesforce Admin Series: Missing Data.

In part 1 we help you understand why the problem of missing information exists, and provide potential solutions that suit your reporting needs.

Salesforce Admin Pt. 1 Missing Information
SFDC Series Pt 3. 2

The Salesforce Admin Series: Building the Report

By | Blog

Introduction

In the previous entry, we discussed what data quality means and how you, as an SFDC admin, can achieve it. In Part 3 of our Salesforce Admin series, we discuss the role of a Salesforce admin on a team and how it affects admin reporting tasks. Executives and sales teams often turn to Salesforce admins when they have questions about the pipeline that only an admin would know the answer to. Often times, this results in a new report being generated.

It may seem like a daunting task to come up with a solution, but we have found the following method to be a solid starting point. It can help you outline the necessary steps you must take to accomplish your goal.

To begin, SFDC admins must ask themselves some basic questions:

  • How do I connect the right systems, processes, and users to the right data?
  • How can I generate an answer from the data that I already have?
  • What is missing, what are the limitations, and how can I overcome them?

1) How do I connect the right systems, processes, and users to the right data?

Management is looking for answers here. How can you give them the information they need?  You need to figure out what data to connect them to. Management needs to see the right data if they are going to get utility out of the reports you provide. Ask yourself: which systems can provide this data? You must connect to the right systems, use the most effective processes, and grant the right permissions to view this sensitive data.

Admins need to understand what those systems are, which processes are relevant to management’s business problem, and what needs to be done from a backend point to give leaders the information they need.

2) How can I generate an answer from the data that I have?

Know your audience.

Keep in mind who is asking for answers here. How do they prefer to learn? Is it through data visualizations, or are they more receptive to reports? If you know their preference, which dashboard would be most effective for the visual learner? Which report format is most preferred by the report receptive manger?

Half of the battle is finding the delivery method that resonates most with your audience. Data is already difficult to interpret so if you’re able to neatly wrap it up in a format you know your management team prefers, everyone’s lives are instantly made easier.

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3) What is missing, what are the limitations?

After determining which data to connect your users to and how to format it, there are only a few things left to consider. Is anything missing? Am I facing any limitations in providing management with this data?

You may find that the data you need is missing, or the way you are collecting data is not providing clear and actionable answers to management’s questions. The two previous blogs on “Missing Information” and “Data Quality” take a deep dive into these possible issues and provide insight into why you may be facing these limitations in your reporting endeavors.

Identifying your limitations is an important step. Think of this step as you going the extra mile to ensure there are no communication issues in the future. Management will appreciate you taking initiative— and you’ll save yourself a lot of work down the road!

To learn more about SplashBI and its amazing ability to improve organizations reporting processes, check out our reporting page. Need Salesforce® specific answers? Visit our Salesforce® connector page to answer all your Salesforce admin related questions.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part 1 of the Salesforce Admin Series: Missing Data.

In part 1 we help you understand why the problem of missing information exists, and provide potential solutions that suit your reporting needs.

Salesforce Admin Pt. 1 Missing Information
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Catch SplashBI at the Technology for Marketing Expo

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We are excited to share our highly-rated Marketing Analytics platform at the Technology for Marketing conference taking place September 26-27, 2018! Visit Stand #T270 for a demo of how the SplashBI solution can take your data reporting to the next level.

In today’s fast-paced world of ingoing and outgoing trends, marketers are scrambling to stay ahead of the competition, keep up with the new digital technology, and exceed customers’ expectations. So, what are the secrets of the most successful marketers? HINT: CEOs know!

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SplashBI CEO Naveen Miglani is excited to share his marketing expertise on the second day of the conference during his session, “The Top 5 Things CEOs Want from Marketing.” Prepare to be flooded with powerful information from one of the industry’s best and most experienced marketeers.

Marc Ramos, Chief Marketing Officer of SplashBI, plans to share valuable insight during his session, “Marketers are from Mars, Sales People are from Venus.” Ramos will discuss how organizations can go beyond policy by leveraging integrated analytics and dashboards in the sales cycle to fill the rift between sales and marketing.Be sure to attend these sessions and make the most of your experience at TFM18!

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Here is a summary of what you can expect at the conference:

  • A revamped conference program featuring top speakers from Chico’s, Prezzo Group, Jamie Oliver Group, Virgin Trains, Financial Times, GSK, O2, Polar Music Prize, Badoo and more.
  • Have your opinion heard! New for 2018, this year the TFM program will include live interactive polling via your smartphone. Results can be seen & shared instantly!
  • 12,000+ of your colleagues, friends and peers – all in one place at one time.

We look forward to seeing you at TFM 2018! Register to attend here.

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Sydney Ergle, September 20, 2018

Colliding sales

Two Sales Pipes Colliding

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TWO SALES PIPES COLLIDING: AN ART OR A SCIENCE?

Every time I think I have it figured out, the game changes and the rules bend.  What worked yesterday to get deals closed now is “blockage” or “obstacles” but on deals that have gone dead for weeks or months, a PO shows up magically in my inbox.  Why?

Again, I have no answers but some thoughts.  I can’t seem to find two deals, in any of my years as a rep or as a Sales Executive that has gone exactly as planned.  They have been close and thankfully I have won more than I have lost.  There are repeatable but not actually perfectly reliable to get deals closed.

See I think sales – any sales of any product or service – has two separate and distinct pipelines or processes.  There is the science of a sale – the actual stages you and your team take to move through your pipeline.  We all have different names and activities but I’ll bet they are like Prospect – Qualification – Presentation/Demo – ID Decision Makers – Proposal – Negotiate – Close.  You have sub-activities like trials and power points, quotes and references etc. but each thing YOU deliver moves the deal to the NEXT step.

Or does it?  Why does it sometimes seem your prospect is behind where you are in the same sales cycle?  How can they be, they have done the same steps you did right?  WRONG – I think they work on the ART of the deal – how do they feel that day?  Not even so much about you and your offering but in general – Are there other pressing priorities that make talking with you less important?  Their job remember is not to buy your products – their job is to build widgets or collect money or save the world.

Getting the two to line up is the silver bullet.  There are so many tools to help us achieve success today that you must be using them or evaluating them NOW.  Data and Metrics are literally at your fingertips and that of your sales team – make them use it!  I make our teams research both contacts and companies more than I ever have before that first call and at every stage of our cycle.  If you can change the game with your clients from one where they WANT your tools to one where they NEED your tools you will sell more.  They will only feel they need it if you add real value and that expertise only comes from combining data from lots of various sources to present a real story or use case that your prospect feels set you apart.  Clients will pay more for what they need than what they want, and procurement will result in less leverage to negotiate.  For us salespeople that is the true Win-Win.

By the way, this ART can also be used internally.  If your reps feel like they can win a deal WITHOUT doing all the steps – LET THEM!  Maybe a contact moved from one company to another and is ready to buy now – maybe someone might trust who you are and what you do without a 90-day trial.  A wise man once told me money in the bank is worth more than pipeline on paper.  So, let them work the deal – if they feel it, it will come.  Time to go check my inbox…

 

Tom Ericson – VP SALES – Splash Business Intelligence Inc

big elephants

Big Elephants or Little Fish?

By | Blog

SHOULD YOUR SALES TEAM CHASE THE BIG ELEPHANTS OR THE LITTLE FISH?

The answer, of course, is both.  I have been on quota for over half my time on earth and have had the opportunity to sell or lead sales teams that sell a variety of products and services at all different price points.  I sold the largest single-site software deal my company ever sold back in 2000 for $1 million dollars as a rep and still spend every day collecting invoices that all together don’t amount to much.

The larger deals, of course, take longer to close with all their moving parts.  That makes the sales cycle longer with more people involved and more approvals that are needed and more chances to go wrong.  They require more resources from your own internal team to address the needs of the prospect.  They often want to work on “their” paper even though they are not in your business.  I’d offer that because of time to close you also win a smaller percentage of them.  But oh, the rewards!  To land that big deal makes you that star, sends you to Presidents Clubs, fills your bank account and get you and your companies name on the map.

The smaller deals tend to move faster and sometimes are executed with a handshake or a note on a bar napkin.  They tend to be based more on relationship and trust than actual process or documentation.  They are the foundation of success in any business, big or small – these are the deals that “keep the lights on” – the singles and doubles that actually let you go chase those Home Runs …I’d suggest most salespeople make their quota off of a volume of “small” deals and they overachieve as a result of the elephant.

The better question for me is – how do you more effectively chase both these size deals at the same time?  A challenge for any sales leader – when and where do you commit your resources to a deal?  If your organization is NOT using METRICS and DATA to help with these answers you are swimming upstream.  You have to inspect what you expect from your team and use the past to predict the future.

Sales teams are hustlers – but with data and analytics crafted the way YOU need to run your business they have nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.  Reporting needs to give you the transactional details to make day to day decisions, Dashboards or Visualizations in today’s market need to be the component that allows you to be more Strategic.

No matter if you use tools like ours or others on the market, but make sure you get in the game – bring the right tool to the right opportunity and HAPPY HUNTING

Tom Ericson

VP SALES
Splash Business Intelligence, Inc.

Understanding Business Analytics

Understanding Business Analytics

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Business Analytics 101: Putting Your Data to Work for You

Business analytics (BA) is the practice of iterative, methodical exploration of an organization’s data, with an emphasis on statistical analysis. This method is used primarily by companies committed to data-driven decision-making. Simply put, BA is using your historic business data to make smart business decisions for the future.
Just a few examples of successful applications include Capital One using BA to determine which customers are good credit risks based on the customer’s past behavior; E & J Gallo Winery using BA to predict which of their wines will be the most popular; and Harrah’s using BA in conjunction with their player loyalty program to determine which offers will be the most effective.

Elements of Business Analytics

There are a number of elements involved with Business Analytics.

Reporting

The practice of BA is not about sifting through mountains of data reports, but rather creating the reports that work best for you and using that specific information to guide your future business decisions, whether or not the data results go along with your “gut” reaction.

Dashboards/Visualizations

Yet another element of BA is an easy-to-use dashboard that keeps all of your key metrics on one convenient screen. With BA, you can also create projections that allow you to visualize future results based on different variables.

Gathering Information Across Multiple Data Sources

Unlike several other method of statistical analysis, BA makes use of historic and real-time data from a variety of sources, both internal and external. For instance, a restaurant or retailer can react quickly to an unexpectedly popular new item and make sure that outlets have enough products available to satisfy this unanticipated demand.

Using Business Analytics to Measure ROI Across Channels/Departments

Another advantage of using BA is that this method of forecasting cuts through departmental lines and looks at company metrics as a whole, not just those of one or two segments within the company.

Getting Started With Business Analytics

To learn more about using Business Analytics to help your company react quickly and effectively to market changes, contact SplashBI at splashbi.com or by calling +1 678-248-5756.
Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_analytics

https://www.ibm.com/analytics/business-analytics