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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Business Analytics Executive Overview

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign via Coursera


Businesses run on data, and data offers little value without analytics. The ability to process data to make predictions about the behavior of individuals or markets, to diagnose systems or situations, or to prescribe actions for people or processes drives business today. Increasingly many businesses are striving to become “data-driven”, proactively relying more on cold hard information and sophisticated algorithms than upon the gut instinct or slow reactions of humans. This course will focus on understanding key analytics concepts and the breadth of analytic possibilities. Together, the class will explore dozens of real-world analytics problems and solutions across most major industries and business functions. The course will also touch on analytic technologies, architectures, and roles from business intelligence to data science, and from data warehouses to data lakes. And the course will wrap up with a discussion of analytics trends and futures.


  • Course Overview & Module 1 Analytics Beyond the Spreadsheet
    • This first module exposes and explains key data and analytics concepts from Big Data to data warehousing to natural language query, and everything in-between. Next we will explore various analytic techniques, types of visualizations, and types of analytics solutions. The course will continue with identifying and learning about key data and analytics roles and organization structures, including chief data and analytics officers, data scientists, and analytics centers of excellence. Alternatives to direct hiring, such as outsourcing and crowdsourcing, will also be covered. Finally, the course will scrutinize analytic trends and futures.
  • Module 2 Industry and Business Function Analytics
    • Over the course of the module, you will also see how data and analytics in each of these organizations can be used in similar ways, in similar business functions. Accordingly, you will appreciate that to be truly data-driven, you need not only look to examples in your own industry, but, also learn and apply analytics concepts from organizations in other fields.
  • Module 3 Staffing and Organizing for Analytics
    • In this module you will learn a bunch of crucial analytical roles and the emergence of new roles in organizations from the C-suite down to various analyst roles. You will take a brief look at the job descriptions and the responsibilities. You will also put yourself in either a job seeker’s or a recruiter’s shoes to see what kind of skill sets are the most important and which position fits you the best. For example, it will introduce you to the three core skills of the data scientist and the crucial soft skills required to be a successful data scientist.
  • Module 4 Analytics Success Today and Tomorrow
    • This module explores telling stories, through data, that connect emotionally with your audience. It will also review examples and figures that make the concept easy to understand. You will learn the major do’s and don’ts of creating dataviz and rules that lead to the clear depiction of your findings. This unit specifically focuses on Dona Wong’s guidelines for good data visualization and charts. The last leg of Module 4 teaches the three tests that help you improve your visualization. In the final step of dataviz execution, you will learn the McCandless Method for presenting visualizations. This five-step process produces the most effective communication of the graphics to your audience.

Taught by

Douglas B. Laney


4.6 rating at Coursera based on 276 ratings

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