Organizations are expected to be “data-driven.” They collect metrics, store user preferences, track customer behavior, and collect machine data by the terabyte. But as the amount of data a business collects increases, often its ability to act on the data decreases. The volume and complexity of the data are simply too overwhelming and many organizations struggle to see the forest through the trees. The predictive value of the data and the competitive advantages it can create are lost in the noise.

Let’s get visual

Most humans are wired for visual learning and understanding. Very few people can pour over data tables and pick out trends or grasp big picture issues. Even statisticians and data scientists who are better equipped than most to deal with data in all its forms benefit from interactive graphical interpretations of data. More importantly, data scientists need to be able to communicate in straightforward, visual ways with broad, heterogeneous audiences.

While basic graphs and charts are excellent communicators in most cases, creating easily understood interactive graphics from complex data is remarkably difficult with applications like Excel. And, as data scales and users require predictive insights, traditional approaches and tools for data reporting often fail.

Spreadsheets can’t compete with data visualization tools

Spreadsheet applications are incredibly useful for certain types of calculations, recordkeeping, tabulation, and many other business tasks. However, they are very poor exploratory and discovery tools. Despite this limitation, they remain in widespread use in analytical settings.

Similarly, the existing graphical capabilities in spreadsheets and even some major analytics tools are far too limiting and require too much user input to enable users to efficiently visualize and explore large or complex datasets. Instead of understanding what the data is telling them about business trends, users spend their time attempting to create useful pictures.

Analytics visualization is the answer

Visualization is a natural progression for business and infrastructure analytics, delivering compelling, interactive and highly descriptive graphics that are well-suited to a variety of data types. Visualization complements standard written, tabular, and graphical reporting practices, simplifying many aspects of presenting data and delivering business insights to users. Perhaps a more important advantage of visualization, though, is that it enables exploratory analysis that is powerful enough for data scientists and offers a deeper level of communication to executive and support teams.

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