Data visualization has been around since before computers even existed. And anyone who has used Excel after taking Spreadsheeto’s tutorial has created charts and graphs to illustrate the insights hidden inside of data. But despite how common data visualization really is, it still has a reputation as a “cutting-edge” or “high-tech” business tool.
It’s true that data visualization has advanced significantly in terms of its power and depth. But it has also advanced in terms of ease and accessibility. As a result, it’s a tool that is broadly available to enhance the business of all shapes and sizes.
To illustrate that point, consider these five examples of how average companies are making use of visualizations:
To Digest Large Amounts of Data in Little Amounts of Time
Big data is one of the most significant business developments of the 21st century. But big data is vast and complex by necessity and trying to manage this scale has always and will always be a challenge. Dashboard data visualizations are a way to understand huge amounts of information by breaking them into visual, manageable packages. And by relying on charts and graphs rather than figures and text, the most relevant aspects of the data become immediately apparent. This is fundamentally a way to learn more in less time!
To Gain Perspective Over Every Aspect of Operations
Relying on data visualization is just one aspect of an analytics agenda. And the goal of that agenda is always to gain strategic advantages by using data more broadly and more deeply at the same time. By combining various data sets into an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand data visualization, you can better understand trends over time. This at-a-glance usability will prove to be a crucial part of any analytics strategy.
To Spot Trends and Create Accurate Forecasts
With enough data and the right approach to analysis, a company can use what it knows to reliably predict what hasn’t even happened yet. The implications of reliably accurate forecasting are huge, but the process remains inconsistent simply because it’s difficult to identify and locate the right insights. Data visualization is the ideal solution since it illustrates trends and leading indicators so directly. When a company is wondering what to do next, the right visual tools make it easy to ask the right questions and get accurate answers back.
To Add a Dynamic Element to Data
Data that is simply presented in a table or a report is static – the information communicates one thing and cannot be engaged with in any way. Data visualizations are just the opposite. The right tools don’t just present data differently. They also allow the user to interact with the data in fluid and flexible ways. Adding in new elements, switching up inputs, and integrating data sets is intuitive enough to remove any barriers to engagement with the data. Visualizations are also the best way to monitor data in real-time since they communicate positive or negative change with perfect clarity.
To Focus Efforts Where They Matter Most
Relying on data visualizations is not just a way to find insights faster and with ease. It’s also a way to learn actionable information that would be impossible to recognize otherwise. Modern visualizations offer innovative types of charts, graphs, and maps designed to organize and present data in new ways. The relationships between multiple variables, overlapping timelines, or complex indicators come into stark relief. These insights have tremendous strategic value, and they would be lost with only a standard approach to analytics. Data visualization is a subtle but critical element.
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