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1.4. Organization of This Book

This book is designed to answer three questions about BA:

  • What is it?
  • Why is it important?
  • How do you do it?

To answer these three questions, the book is divided into three parts. In Part I, “What Are Business Analytics?”, Chapter 1 answers the “what” question. In Part II, the “why” question is answered in Chapter 2, “Why Are Business Analytics Important?” and Chapter 3, “What Resource Considerations Are Important to Support Business Analytics?”

Knowing the importance of explaining how BA is undertaken, the rest of the book’s chapters and appendixes are devoted to answering that question. Chapter 4, “How Do We Align Resources to Support Business Analytics within an Organization?”, explains how an organization needs to support BA. Chapter 5, “What Are Descriptive Analytics?”, Chapter 6, “What Are Predictive Analytics?”, and Chapter 7, “What Are Prescriptive Analytics?”, detail and illustrate the three respective steps in the BA process. To further illustrate how to conduct a BA analysis, Chapter 8, “A Final Case Study Illustration,” provides an example of BA. Supporting the analytic discussions is a series of analytically oriented appendixes that follow Chapter 8.

Part III includes quantitative analyses utilizing computer software. In an effort to provide some diversity of software usage, SPSS, Excel, and LINGO software output are presented. SPSS and LINGO can be used together to duplicate the analysis in this book, or only Excel with the necessary add-ins can be used. Because of the changing nature of software and differing educational backgrounds, this book does not provide extensive software explanation.

In addition to the basic content that makes up the body of the chapters, there are pedagogy enhancements that can aid learning. All chapters begin with chapter objectives and end with a summary, discussion questions, and, where needed, references. In addition, Chapters 5 through 8 have sample problems with solutions, as well as additional assignment problems.

Some of the more detailed explanations of methodologies are presented in the appendixes. Their positioning in the appendixes is designed to enhance content flow and permit more experienced readers a flexible way to select only the technical content they might want to use. An extensive index allows quick access to terminology.

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