Data Visualizations – Simple graphics can drive business value

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Businesses are moving towards becoming a true “Data Driven Enterprise” and are committed to improving data-driven decisions. Increasingly, enterprises are formulating analytic strategies to drive insights, finding new patterns and relationships in data, understanding why certain things happened within their business, and forecasting the future. Self-service analytics has become an integral part of the core enterprise analytics strategy due to the increasing number of tools available for data visualization and data preparation.

However, most of the organizations struggle to bring self-service analytics into the enterprise or even into a business unit. As we are all starting to realize – The need to shift reporting and data analytics out of IT and closer to the decision makers (Business) is fundamental to achieving enterprise wide adoption. Data visualization can help business users grasp information faster and needs to be associated with business users requiring the information. Self-service business intelligence, data visualization and data discovery is used to create graphics on revenue, profits, operational metrics and other key performance indicators.

The principal challenge faced by most business organizations is – looking to IT (which has limited bandwidth) for guidance in selecting the right tools for Analytics and Visualization. In some cases, IT’s selection and purchase of a solution is based on their capital budget, project priorities, current technology stack, and their “tech lens” (bias). To make matters worse they advise the business to short list their solutions to tools that integrate into the current system architecture (environment). In most cases these tools are overly complex, hard to configure and requires IT to implement them. Often the implementation of these tools are dropped into the IT project priority queue and are never heard from again.  The result is your businesses self-service data visualization and reporting capabilities fall far behind your competitors.

Simply put, with the right tool enabling self-services, you can and should be visualizing Key Performance indicators (KPIs) in a matter of weeks. There is no need to start with a disproportionate number of visualizations. It could distract from the true purpose of an analytics solutions. That is, capturing key information for insights and insights drive action. A few benefits are improving operational efficiencies to reduce your bottom-line and determine new opportunities to increase your top-line.  Either way you’re increasing the quality of all business decisions.

There be may a small population of power users (5-10 %) that need to view 100s of KPIs, but in most scenarios you only need a Line (Strip), Bar, Pie or some other very simple chart to drive insight from your data. A great example is Google Analytics – very simple graphics, easy setup, and anyone can easily use it. You can find several ways of representing the same thing in thirty different elaborate visualizations –  but what do you really need?

Don’t make it overwhelming for your users. Keep it simple. Do it with purpose.

 

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