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Data Visualization – from Chaos to Overview

16th July 2015 / 11:06 AM
By Kåre, M. Rasmussen

Success through overview
What is data visualization?
Well, as it says: data visualized. Typically in a graphical format. You have probably already been working with data visualization, if not in advanced forms then as Excel diagrams.

Why use data visualization?
Because it gives you and your organisation far greater insight and overview of the contents of your data. This significantly increases your chances of success. The alternative to having the overview is to grope in the dark.

Big Data and data visualization.
In contrast to data visualization one can hardly say that there is a 100% clear definition of the concept of Big Data, however, most of us may agree that it is about collection and interpretation of large amounts of data.
So is Big Data the new black, or just “a lot of numbers”? One thing is certain, if you cannot easily deduce trends and see highlights of in your data, you have a serious challenge, and that’s where data visualization is needed.

The challenge of interpreting and conclude on data is that as soon as you have more than 100 figures, it requires almost autistic ability to spot trends in them in minutes. The problem in this regard is that often you only have a few minutes to show your surroundings exactly what you want them to see and act on. Therefore, the way you visualize your data is extremely important – and the figures alone rarely do the job.

Example: Which of the two examples below do you first decode? The spread sheet or the dashboard?

    Spreadsheet example
    Dashboard example

Blue Visuals cooperates with several large companies on data visualization solutions. Our experience is that businesses are looking for the solutions because they, in addition to the very large amounts of data, have a need to enabling employees and management to make quick decisions and act on short notice. The right decisions require the right overview.

Get organized with dashboards and visualized KPI reports
At Blue Visuals we create the overview for the customer through dynamic data and not least through visualization. In addition, we make a virtue out of the fact that the solutions are tailored to the target audience. Top management has one need, the sales department a second and the online department a third.
The importance of the design and the way you present your figures can hardly be overstated.

For example, with a mobile dashboard or a KPI-report you can take the temperature of the sales performance in seconds. From there you can look into more detailed numbers in the same dashboard.

    KPI report example

Often the customers desire solutions that gather KPI figures from different sources in one place, as well as to ease availability and distribution of the figures. These solutions optimize the internal knowledge sharing and employee motivation and performance increases due to the fact that the employees get a detailed insight into the results of what they are working with.

Infographics – creative Data Visualization
A more creative variation of Data Visualization is infographics, where creative ideas and design are used to illustrate the numbers.

One of the, currently, most publicized examples of infographics is the telecommunications company 3’s illustration of how the size of mobile phones, has changed over time (among other discussed at markedsforing.dk in May 2015). Instead of a curve of centimetres on the y-axis, the curve is illustrated by different sizes of mobile phones. The reader decodes the message immediately and 3’s infographic also went viral and has been shown several million times.

    Mobile phone evolution
    The mobile phone evolution. Source: 3

The example illustrates that your design can convey figures in a way that can be easily decoded. It also shows that with data visualization, you can reach a larger audience

Infographics don’t necessarily require highly creative designs. The very purpose of Data Visualization is to visualize your data the best to serve the exact purpose.

The example is a static infographic, however, often the solutions enable users to interact, making choices, changing data sets etc.

Summary
Data Visualization significantly enhances your chance of success by allowing you to:

  • Obtain a quick overview of your data
  • Gather data from various sources in one place
  • Distribute KPI figures, results etc. easy and fast
  • Adjust the message to your audience
  • Set common agenda by clearly highlighting primary KPIs and targets
  • Motivate the organization by highlighting achievements and goals

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