Data Visualization: The Next Big Thing in Analytics

In large organizations where data is spread across disparate forms and platforms, about 80% of BI effort goes into integrating and extracting data, and only 20% into analysis and presentation. Thus, business users need to look at new techniques such as data visualization to make sense out of numbers

One of the recent paradigm shifts seen in the industry has a lot to do with data analytics and business intelligence. As data is spread across disparate forms and platforms, about 80% of BI effort goes into integrating and extracting data, and only 20% into analysis and presentation. The heavy dependency on IT leaves business users in a reactive status quo, not upbeat for smart and sound decisions. This has led to business users rapidly switching from basic reporting tools and increasingly relying on disruptive technologies such as data virtualization and visualization, to aid decision making. So how do we change? Here’s a look at the upcoming developments in this domain:

Real-time, graphically-intense, shareable, and manageable data

Cloud-based analytical platforms, data integration and analytics solutions leveraged with data visualization capabilities are most sought-after in the business intelligence market space.

Data visualization is not just about enabling users with the tools to create attractive charts, infographics and heat maps. It can help deliver business value through more self-service and user adoption. The latest tools in the data visualization arena provide ‘lightning speed’ insight into data, in a repeatable, self-service mode. These tools help you combine and visualize data from multiple and diversified sources, in just a few clicks. Visualization can help derive maximum benefit from all the traditional BI investments made within an organization.

Self-service dashboards

These are getting increasingly popular with business executives in driving their business forward. With just one-time set up to cloud data, the live dashboards connect to data, get updated real-time, and present users with customizable, graphically engaging, and manageable data. Be it tapping into historical data to gain better insights for future planning (analytical) or monitoring daily usage of resources within a business unit (operational), self-service dashboards give business users the edge over traditional reporting methods.

The following sales dashboard automates sales metrics across product categories, regions, and time and helps identify the constantly changing trends and patterns. Such insight into real-time historical data helps better alignment of strategic goals to performance management initiatives.

Operational dashboards help manage daily business processes and offer a continuous insight into the operations of a business unit. The server dashboard used for monitoring real-time processer and memory usage across the enterprise, is a typical example. The gauge visualization gives a vivid picture about the usage details. That the business users can customize these dashboards, deal with dynamic data themselves, with minimal or one-time IT intervention, radically shifts their focus from IT onto the business aspect of data. Deriving actionable intelligence from diverse dynamic data significantly enhances decision making and renders a winning advantage.

Business benefits of Data Visualization

We saw a leading insurance provider reduce claims cycle time by 20%–30% for high frequency claims through dashboards. At a global financial services organization, a reporting/data visualization solution provided a holistic business view, enabling faster decision-making. A price comparison services provider is able to understand RoI from marketing spend through a real-time analytical platform on the cloud. These are some instantiations that lead us to believe that data visualization, enabled through real time, is here to stay, across all industries.

Thus, the key business benefits of data visualization include improved decision making, self-service, reduced dependency on IT, improved information sharing, and better market positioning.
(The article was first published in PcQuest)