A picture is worth ten thousand words, said Fred R. Barnard in the year 1927. What has happened with this statement, after nearly a decade, can be regarded as a classic case of ‘Blue getting deeper than indigo’.
In today’s scenario, where the world is being driven by data and the amount of data that is being generated, processed and presented is getting more gigantic with every passing moment, the statement has become truer than ever. Just that, the criticality pointer of the case has gotten stuck on the consumption quotient of that data.
Drowning in Big Data Or Making Sense of It?
Today, with big data getting bigger and the market competition getting tougher, the stakes have risen higher. Even if you have the most modern BI and analytics engine in place which are spilling out much more insights than your competition, it won’t matter till the time those insights are ‘actionable’ and are being leveraged to generate real ‘impacts’.
Also, with automation taking up quite a major chunk of tasks which were earlier managed by human professionals, what is left for sales professionals or business people to do is to think about the next step. The said task encompasses a lot of insight digestion followed by grasping the risks, challenges and opportunities which is then succeeded by strategizing and planning newer growth pathways.
The first step there, i.e. insight digestion, is critical for the rest of the steps to fall in place and that is linked to data consumption. While some people may be more comfortable seeing excels and extensive spreadsheets, majority are not – be it because of the paucity of time or the general human brain tendency of grasping visuals better than text.
There have been numerous other studies underscoring the importance of visual data over textual format for making it more digestible. Hence, it has so far been concluded that graphical aspect of data presentation has a defining impact on the rate of its consumption, retention and leverage.
It’s Time To Get Visual
It’s often said that knowledge is power. To replicate the saying in the business verbiage of today, one would say, data is power because data is where the requisite knowledge comes from, when it comes to businesses. Now, visualisation is the tool to make that knowledge, i.e. data, powerful by enabling it to tell a story or convey a meaning in a much better way than plain numbers or facts.
Hence, when the consumption and retention for an infographic or a pie chart is higher than the same data being presented in tables of excel columns then why would businesses miss out on the chance of encashing that established fact? After all, the message is only as good as you’re able to share it and as much as the receiver is able to resonate with it.
And Reap-in The ROIs
The correlation is thence quite apparent between data visualisation and the linked ROIs. To put it simply, a visualised narrative of the data is consumed and comprehended better, and this enables better understanding which is a pre-requisite for better planning and execution – eventually leading to enhanced returns on the investment. Therefore, when data meets design – it’s always a good news for the revenues.
Now, to get better at this game of improving ROIs further with effective visualisation, a methodical approach towards the same needs to be taken instead of just going random about creating visual narratives for each and every piece of data.
- First step is to decide which kind of visualisation does the end-objective of your exercise demands. For example, whether you want to showcase a trend or establish a correlation, or you want to show the data analysis from a specific dimension in order to convey a definite point – both these eventual goals will require a different treatment and a mis-judgement on this front may throw the ball out of your court.
- Secondly, refinement of the precise requirement is important before jumping into designing. This entails defining the KPIs and other metrics of visualisation, comprehending the audience type, defining the messaging delivery channels etc. This is important for getting the designing right since a visualisation which is custom-made for optimal viewing over desktop but not on mobile may be a problem if your audience can select either of the channel to consume that visual piece of information.
- Now that the intent of visualisation and the methodology is crystal clear, it is time to plunge into action to get you nearer to your ROI goals. Apply the best practices for visualisation and connect data with design to tell your story in the most effective manner. There are myriads of elements which are seemingly minor but are important for consideration, such as the chart types, colors, size, labels and even interactive elements like the ease of navigation or aptness of animation etc.
- The final step is deciding upon the thought which you want your data to leave the audience with – if you want to weave a compelling story, then you’d need to align your graphical data pieces such as charts, tables, infographics, dashboards, scorecards etc. in a sequential format. In case if there is an order of the things you want the audience to take an emphasized note of, then the visual element display timing in that chronology would be important. Using a readymade interactive storyboard template from your BI solution or getting a customised one created or using traditional approaches like a powerpoint – the key lies in a well-thought choice and leverage.
With umpteen number of business benefits, ranging from swifter decision-making power, distillation of complex processes into easy-to-grasp actionable pointers, ability to chalk out more accurate customer profile or do trend analysis and an easier route for data-driven sales and marketing – data visualisation and ROIs are interlinked very deeply.
And that is why the new age analytics and BI solutions are all about provisioning the best interactive dashboards, visually appealing narratives, and easy-to-generate graphical representations. Afterall, data has the power to transform your business but at first, you need to transform the way that data is seen.
With your BI & analytics tool, do you think you’re extracting the best possible insights from your data? Is your database management partner pairing your data analysis with effective visualisation and providing you with simplified versions of complex concepts or actionable acumens from the mammoth-sized spreadsheet rows and columns? The answer needs to be a confident yes in case if you want an edge over your competitors. However, a dicey yes or a ‘may-be’ doesn’t mean the end of the road and may just require you to flex your search muscles a bit more for finding the perfect partner.
Do let us know your thoughts around this concept of interlinkage between data visualisation and investments returns, in the comments section below.
By Mr. Snehashish Bhattacharjee, Global CEO, Denave