Raw data sets that are aggregated from corporate repositories, social media channels, company website metrics and other sources all have the potential to be of great value to an organization, but they don’t actually convey meaning at a glance. This is where data visualization steps in. Tables, charts, graphs, scatter plots and other visualizations summarize the information so that it makes sense to the human eye.
Unfortunately, management teams don’t always have access to tools that can give their data sets the definition they need. Their attempts at visualizing information with legacy software might fall flat, which can weaken the impact of their message, or worse, cause them to miss out on important business insights.
The good news is that basic knowledge of the different types of data visualizations paired with the right BI tool makes it much easier to create meaningful representations of your organization’s data.
What Can Data Visualization Achieve?
Think of data visualization like writing a book. In most cases, authors need to create some sort of thesis from which to start. They need to ask themselves, “What’s the point I’m trying to make, and how can I best structure the story to convey my message?” The same can be said about managers who are trying to tell their own compelling story with numbers.
If managers are having difficulty telling this narrative with basic graphs (on basic systems), they should consider upgrading to a better BI solution.
“Orbit allows managers to tell stories that depict relationships between two or more sets of data.”
Industry leaders can take data from structured and unstructured sources, feed it into a tool like Orbit Reporting + Analytics and quickly develop easy-to-read, real-time visuals. With Orbit, managers can tell stories that depict relationships between two or more sets of data and in turn help upper management solve problems.
With many static programs, such as Excel, managers aren’t given the type of freedom to create interactive visual graphs. Sure, they can present data in pie charts and maybe even click on them to reveal a list of statistics – but that’s it. With Orbit, managers can take comprehensive business data, and with a few simple clicks, let the software go to work transforming the information into beautiful visual formats. From there, managers can dig deep into individual pieces of information (by clicking on the visuals) to help them more closely analyze key business areas. Other BI solutions fail to afford managers this kind of high-level exposure to real-world problems.
So What Data Visualizations Should I Use?
The answer to this question is truly dependent upon the nature of the information you are trying to depict, but it’s helpful to understand how some of primary visual templates differ from one another:
Heat Maps: These maps identify concentrations or clusters of information using color variations. For instance, an online retailer might create a heat map of the country to get a geographical summary of its customer base. Areas where they have few current customers might use cooler-toned colors like blue and green, while parts of the country where sales are hot would use warmer tones like orange and red. Simply by glancing, an executive would be able to see what regional markets they’re struggling to penetrate.
Scatter Plots: Scatter plots display correlations in data across vertical and horizontal axes. For example, the Y axis might represent the total number of successful upsells to cable clients in specific cities, while the X axis represents the amount of money spent on engagement efforts.
Line Graphs: Line graphs, on the other hand, would indicate differences between two quantitative points. So, let’s say that Y represents clients, and X representing money spent on engagements. A red line might stand in for a premium cable bundle, while a blue line would represent a slightly more expensive, but newer version of that offering. This could be a good way to visually compare the success of a new service over an older one, while assessing the costs of engagement that go into selling each.
Bar Charts: One of the simplest ways to display data, bar charts help users compare information in an easy-to-read, logical and often chronological setup. These are ideal for tracking revenue, or the total number of customers, year-over-year.
Pie Charts: Best used to show differences in proportional information and typically used when displaying different sets of percentages, these simple charts are great for organizing a few (but not an overwhelming) amount of data. A good use case might be a B2B technology firm attempting to divvy up the source of its lead conversions – trade shows, social media, website, etc. The beauty of a tool like Orbit Analytics, is that managers will be able to delve deeper into charts to obtain an unequaled depth of knowledge. For instance, by clicking on the social media segment, they might be able to then see a more detailed layer within the pie chart displaying which channels (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) are generating the greatest number of leads.
Geospatial: Orbit technology supports a full range of geospatial mapping solutions such as 3-D viewing. This provides users the unique ability to make real-time assessments of data based on geography and time (think Google Maps, but tailored to your organization’s unique needs).
Tabular Format: For those who want to display their information in the most basic format – possibly before they do so in a visually stunning way – tabular formats are perfect. This data rests in rows and columns, making it easy to view and read.
Orbit enables companies to more efficiently consolidate and display data in a variety of visually appealing and organized formats. With a simple point-and-click, drag-and-drop interface, users can slice-and-dice data within various views to create reports from virtually any data sets. From there, business leaders can extract actionable insight from structured and unstructured data sources.
If you want a BI solution that’ll work for you and not the other way around, you’ll need a first-class tool will help you achieve high-performance analysis of key data, and then present findings in interactive maps, gauges, charts and sliders.
Don’t let poor data visualization bog down your business presentations. Get all the features and functionality you need with Orbit!