It’s no secret that data and analytics play a huge part in major business decisions – as well they should. But extensive data can sometimes be difficult to read and even more difficult to analyze. A business intelligence dashboard consolidates all the necessary information through simple, scannable visualizations.
What Does Business Intelligence Software Do?
If they haven’t invested in big data, many companies already use rudimentary tools for data visualization, like Microsoft Excel. Business intelligence software provides metrics, insights, and visualizations into your company’s data, and the dashboard provides a visual interface for viewing this information. The difference between a basic spreadsheet and a business intelligence dashboard is in the level of customizability, as well as readability and ease of use.
With dashboard software, anyone who has access to the software can add sources to create new and relevant reports. In turn, key decision makers can access the data at any time, whether they need to see customer key performance indicators or sales figures. What’s more, user-friendly executive dashboard software has a simple drag-and-drop interface that allows engagement at all levels.
Why Data Visualization Matters
If “seeing is believing,” then the most important function of the dashboard is data visualization. Visualization is the key to understanding and gaining value from data. When you log in, you will instantly have access to the information you need, instead of needing to manually execute queries or processes. Let’s break down how this works.
According to Phil Simon, author of The Visual Organization: Data Visualization, Big Data, and the Quest for Better Decisions, rudimentary visualization charts don’t promote true data discovery. Rather, advanced companies are interacting with data, using it to make critical business decisions and learning new things about their businesses. Effectively, data visualization software gives businesses autonomy over their analytics.
There’s a scientific reason why visualization is so effective – human beings are wired to process visual information. The human mind is highly adept at recognizing patterns but, on average, sorely lacking in computational skills. Once we learn a pattern, we become better and better at recognizing it. So while the mind doesn’t inherently understand statistical models, we’re perfectly adapted to understand data visualization.
Putting Visualization Into Action
Businesses all over the globe are enacting data visualization in innovative and exciting ways. Here are a few examples:
- A leading water utility company in the United Kingdom is using visualization to plot operational data, including pump efficiency, water flows, and leakage rates. Engineers now have easy access to data that was once obscured by spreadsheets, which means they can identify problems and opportunities for growth more quickly.
- Visualization tools boost project delivery. Users can quickly build a picture of the value of their particular work stream, which allows them to more readily estimate the total worth of new projects at much earlier stages. With early value testing, the overarching cost of innovation is lowered significantly.
- The average web user enjoys seeing well-executed visualizations in content they consume. Infographics are one popular manifestation. Check out this roundup from Visual.ly of some of the best interactive visualizations created for the general public’s consumption.
Consider the Future of Your Business
Businesses everywhere are making great strides in their use of business intelligence and analytics – so data visualization is more important than ever. Advanced visualization makes unseen insights visible and valuable, and investing in business intelligence software is a smart way to make use of data in new ways.