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Operational analytics is a more specific term for a type of business analytics which focuses on improving existing operations. This type of business analytics, like others, involves the use of various data mining and data aggregation tools to get more transparent information for business planning.
Within the general category of business analytics, the subjective definitions of a number of similar terms make it difficult to concretely define the boundaries of operational analytics. Many professionals within the industry use this term to refer to analytics that is done "on the fly" or in real time observation of business processes. In the planning and analytics world, there is the idea that in operational analytics planners are looking at how specific business operations work on a daily basis and coming up with quick solutions for change.
Businesses can pursue operational analytics in many different ways. Different software packages will offer various models for showing what happens within a business, in real-time or over a specific time frame. Many of these tools will provide visual models. For example, businesses may be looking each day at how many customers look at or buy a particular product in an e-commerce store. Operational analytics tools may graph or chart these customer events in a visual way to allow human decision-makers to see what’s really going on.
In general, operational analytics and other business analytics support the idea of enterprise resource planning, where software systems aggregate information across a complex enterprise in order to enhance communications between stakeholders, streamline or optimize business processes, and give leaders a better idea of how to chart a course for the future. Again, with operational analytics, experts in the field will have specific guidance on how to perform quicker or more targeted analysis and use of the valuable information that’s provided by operational analytics software.