Most companies are swimming in virtual pools of data. Valuable information is constantly flowing in and out, and many companies are at least aware of this. But to ring the value out, there needs to be a way to both collect and make sense of that data.
Through business intelligence solutions, a company collects, organizes and analyzes data and transforms it into actionable insights. These strategies turn raw data into decisions, which allow businesses to perform efficiently and competitively.
But to turn that raw data into those decisions, something else has to happen along the way — the data needs to be understood. One of the most valuable tools in understanding business intelligence is data visualization.
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
Humans have been visualizing data for hundreds of years. From maps to graphs to charts, we’ve been taking data and arranging it so it tells a story better and in more depth than it could alone.
With the boom in technology came the boom in data, and that same technology allowed us to process increasingly larger amounts of data at escalating speeds. Trends, patterns and other insights that easily may have gone unexposed in a raw text format could quickly be discovered with the use of data visualization software.
While reports and dashboards have their place, data visualizations are often the strongest approach because they are capable of relaying large quantities of information in small spaces. Where it could take someone hours, days, or weeks to delve into lengthy data sets, visualizations allow for swift and efficient interpretation.
Thanks to growing technologies, many data visualization tools allow for interactive functionality. This flexibility allows for fast tweaking to help a user discover and explore alternative viewpoints. That comprehensive and interactive view is rarely attainable so quickly by approaching raw data without visualization software.
Preparing for Success
One common challenge facing business intelligence is quantity. It takes an intimate understanding of the data to see that your visualizations lead to decisions. Without context, the visualizations just aren’t as effective.
But the solution is fairly simple: Let the tools do their job and the people do theirs. As long as you’re using the right tools and the ones who are analyzing the data have a deep understanding of where it came from, who will be consuming it and how it’s going to be interpreted, data visualization will be on a more obvious course toward driving those big decisions.
Every day, more businesses are discovering the importance of data visualization in business intelligence. As high-performance analytics tools provide better ways to analyze data faster than ever, having the ability to not only present data in a meaningful way but also understand how to act on it can ensure a company remains competitive.