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12/01/2020
By
MJV Team

How investing in Data Visualization reduces uncertainties.

How impactful can data visualization be for your business? We’ve divided the topic and explored every detail in this article. Follow along!

Let’s start with a strong statement: Data is inevitable. But how did it happen? 

Sometimes it seems like it was overnight. We woke up, and suddenly everything was generating data, and the race for advanced analysis had started well before that.

In the 6th century BC, the philosopher Tales de Milet discovered the process behind electricity and decided to study it a little. Soon, more scientists plunged into this area of study. Benjamin Franklin is known for discovering electricity in 1752 – but you already know what happened next. 

The new technologies that emerged from this discovery made the Industrial Revolution possible – it changed the current way of life. 

Note the substantial similarity between this event and what we are experiencing today.

Since then, technology has only evolved. The internet was the next giant leap. And since it advances a little every day, it continuously breaks the market.

In the last few years, we have watched technology companies become the most valuable globally. Today, the top 3 are Amazon, Google, and Apple. 

The reason, or rather the facilitator of all this, is data! The business intelligence originated from this technology has placed these three companies at the top of the world.

This article will talk about how you can extract the maximum amount of value out of your data. Here’s a spoiler: dashboards are the framework for data culture. 

What is a data-driven company?

Analytical companies are not the ones that have the most data or the best tools; they are the ones that do the most advanced analysis and understand what data they need to collect to have the right answers. 

Currently, there are two positions in the market when it comes to analytical culture. 

1- Some organizations invest in tools and a Business Analytics team, fulfilling this new demand generated by digital transformation. This segment believes that it has fulfilled its role. 

2- The others are organizations that assume Big Data is the way, believing they need advanced technology and colossal amounts of data to generate results. This segment gives up the disruptive potential of data. 

The result: both perceptions fall short

The reason? The real value lies in choosing the right KPIs, advanced analytics, and how you access and view the information needed for informed decisions. 

How to generate value with your business data

According to DOMO, in 2019, Google pulled in almost 4.5 million searches per minute, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only been exacerbating the amount of data generated. 

There is undoubtedly an ocean of value from this massive amount of data. But, how can we see the insights hidden within, especially when it comes from varied sources, and there’s so much of it?

The takeaway is this: Data is essential, but only if it tells a story.

This is precisely where the value of dashboards shines. 

The mathematician Karl Sigmund was correct in saying: Everything that can be shown by an image should not be counted in words. 

The role of visualization is to sift and aggregate – after all, a lot of data is unnecessary. 

Data Science “tidies the house” and, along with visualization, makes it possible to interpret information and make projections, facilitating decision making.

The world of data can be divided into two parts:

Business Intelligence

Here, the correlations observed within the currently available data are analyzed to obtain answers.

Automation is very welcome. The objective is to promote support for decision making. The perceived value lies in identifying trends. 

Data Science

The science that uses available data to test various hypotheses. 

The level of automation here is shallow. The objective is to provide direction for strategic planning. And its value lies in the results of its data experiments.

Have you ever stopped to think that there is no point in building a database that does not answer your questions? 

Tips to efficiently visualize your data 

Before choosing what type of graph you will use, ask yourself this: what is the purpose of the visualization you are proposing? What questions will it answer? 

Believe me: this is what will lead you to choose the right KPIs to include in your dashboards. 

With your data set chosen, it’s time to determine the graphics that will communicate this information. 

Remember: the right graph improves the interpretation of information, and that’s where useful insights emerge. Besides, they avoid misunderstandings and mistakes, not including less rework.

Bars

When you have to compare categories – one of the axes is the value and the other the type. For more advanced analysis, it is possible to use grouped or stacked bars. 

Also useful when making a histogram to present continuous data. 

Pie  

These are the best graphics to show parts of a whole. The sum of the total slices makes up the entire pie. 

Don’t even think about using it to compare data. It will require enormous skill to perceive the difference between areas, and as humans, we perceive lengths much more quickly – that’s what Steven’s Power Law says. 

Dispersion 

The champion format to show the relationship between two continuous variables, each with its axis.

Line

Choose this when you need to analyze the evolution of an indicator over time. 

They are great for watching trends, as long as the time interval is the same, monthly. 

Proportional symbol maps

Perfect for observing magnitude. 

Use for totals; they are not recommended for fees – small differences are not easy to see. 

Design helps a lot:

  • Using colors in your graphics helps in telling the story more efficiently. 
  • Opt for images, or shapes, to support storytelling. 
  • Remember: images are always better than text, in these cases. The idea is to use as little as possible when you have no visual way of clarifying information. 

Golden rule

To finish, here are three tips to help you implement an analytical culture in your company!

Dive into your business

A deep understanding of your business challenges provides the information needed to choose the right KPIs to generate valuable insights. It is time to integrate all the data required to build the indicators and make them transparent. 

Combine data – structured and unstructured – from several different sources through integration software. Use a Big Data platform. 

End spreadsheets

Deconstruct the culture of massive Excel spreadsheets. Dashboards are great for scaling analysis and consolidating the data-driven mindset. That way, everyone can access any statistic on demand. 

Make data visible 

Data analysis promotes efficiency in decision making, reduces errors, improves time to market, but above all; it can enable everyone equally. So make sure your data is easily accessible.

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