In his book, “Data Visualization for Human Perception,” author Stephen Few says “important stories live in our data, and data visualization is a powerful means to discover and understand these stories, and then to present them to others.”

In the modern era of Big Data, data visualization is the tool that makes sense of it. Data visualizers and analyzers are the “chiselers” that draw valuable insights from raw data. This enables business executives to make instantaneous decisions from data-driven stories.

  • Data visualization can help make more data-driven business decisions quickly.
  • Visual data is easy to comprehend, thus enabling faster insights.
  •  It can communicate data insights to other business stakeholders easily.

How does data visualization convert raw data into actionable insights? Next, let’s discuss five best practices.

 

5 Best Practices in Data Visualization & Reporting

“Clutter and confusion are not attributes of data – they are shortcomings of design.” – Edward Tufte

Large data volumes and numbers are difficult to comprehend without effective data visualization. Be it in business or technology, organizations need to understand complex datasets to make informed decisions. Here are five of the best practices in data visualization & reporting that can help business decision-makers understand their data:

1. Deploy Visualization in Business Intelligence (BI)

Effectively, data visualization can be thought of as the user interface of the BI system.

Here are the steps to visualize the data in BI:

  • Define the data sources and types for visualization purposes.
  • Source the raw data from its storage locations (for example, CRM, Google Analytics, or ERP system).
  • Move the data into the staging platform for transformation using data cleansing or mapping to a unified data format.
  • Move the clean data into a data warehouse, where it is possible to read data or rewrite the datasets.

For any organization, the objective of visualization is not to convert data into images. The purpose of using a BI tool is to extract valuable insights from data represented in a visual format.

2. Select the Right Dashboard

For effective data visualization , companies must select the right dashboard for their intended audience. As a best practice, design the dashboard based on the following questions:

  • What challenges are we trying to address?
  • How can data solve these challenges?
  • Does the dashboard meet the needs of the end-users or stakeholders?

Based on these requirements, there are three types of dashboards to choose from:

  • Strategic dashboards provide a comprehensive analysis using KPIs and metrics. This is valuable for business leaders.
  • Analytical dashboards are interactive and provide stakeholders a
    straightforward way to experiment with the data.
  • Operational dashboards contain real-time information that facilitates business decision-making. These dashboards are generally used for daily business operations.

3. Involve the Entire Team

With real-time access to business data, visualization ensures improved collaboration among different business teams (or departments). Visualized data is an effective mode of providing the same insights to every team member across the organization. Based on the presented data patterns and insights, organizational teams can determine their best business strategy going forward.

Here are some key questions that can empower customers or business teams:

  • What are the key questions facing the business?
  • Who is asking these questions?
  • How do you access the data?
  • What information are you looking for?

To improve data-driven collaboration among teams, follow the best practice of keeping visualizations simple and clear and avoid any information overload.

4. Obtain Real-time Business Insights

Among the important practices in data visualization, organizations must obtain real-time business insights by interacting with data. Examine the data-driven insights in detail to determine and pursue business goals. For instance, examine the latest data trends and patterns to design a high-quality product for meeting customer needs.
Additionally, business insights from visualized data are an accurate predictor of future trends and can help in detecting a problem (before they occur).

Organizations that can leverage data visualization to identify the latest industry trends stay competitive in any business environment. In his Occam Razor article, Avinash Kaushik highlights the capabilities of data visualization in influencing executive decision-making by closing the “last mile gap.”

5. Organize the Visualized Data

When representing Big Data using visualizations, it’s crucial to maintain data coherence and organization. With a coherent design, users and decision-makers can easily process the information. They can also “read” the presented data and arrive at accurate conclusions.
Data hierarchy displays the various data points that are relevant to decision-makers. As a practice, organize (or sort) the data points from:
  • Highest to lowest values
  • Emphasize the highest values
  • Highlight the most important data category to the users
Next, let us discuss how analytics reporting and dashboard services from Ellicium help in data visualization.

How Ellicium’s Analytics Reporting and Dashboard Services Can Help

At Ellicium, we understand the importance of visualized data for our customers. Effectively, organizations must “make sense” of their data to focus on achieving their business objective. To that end, we have expertise in the latest visualization and BI tools like Power BI, Qlik, and Tableau, along with deploying the best industry practices.

Here’s a list of our services that help our customers convert data into instantaneous decisions:

  • Visual analytics and reporting
  • Real-time data insights
  • Innovative use of dashboards
  • Effective business intelligence
  • 24/7 asset monitoring

Conclusion

With benefits like faster response time and simplified data presentation, data visualization is an asset for organizations to make instant and accurate decisions. Besides being user-friendly, data visualization eliminates the “guesswork” from business decision-making.

Here is a blog that talks about how data visualization creates data-driven enterprises.

At Ellicium Solutions, we have gained technical expertise in technologies like Big Data, Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). For more information, read our customer success stories.

Are you looking to improve your decision-making abilities using business data insights?
We can help you on this journey. Contact us now.