TMCnet Feature
January 22, 2021

How Data Visualization Software Helps Decision-Making

It's said that data is an organization's most powerful asset, and advances in data science are empowering businesses with the tools they need to utilize their data fully. Today's software solutions take the guesswork out of decision-making with powerful data visualization and analytics capabilities.

How does data visualization software facilitate decision-making?

Our brains are hardwired to process visual information, making data visualization a powerful tool. Analyzing large amounts of data through visuals vastly quickly increases decision-making speed and gives businesses a competitive edge. Use cases for data visualization tools are numerous — including storytelling, trendspotting, identifying market opportunities or risks, and reviewing performance metrics.

With a built-in analytics platform, data visualization software offers an easy way for business users to gain actionable insights from their data. Customizable, intuitive dashboards make data analysis accessible to everyone, facilitating deeper insights and better decisions company-wide. You can probably find a free plan (or at least a free trial) to cover data visualization basics, although data science investments typically have high ROIs.

The following are some key capabilities of data visualization software that can help with decision-making:

1. Smart Data Discovery and Wrangling

Even the best data scientists and business intelligence tools couldn't process vast, unstructured raw data for years. This so-called "big data" includes things like social media interactions, which contains valuable semantic information that can help you make decisions. Updates to data science with machine learning and AI have finally enabled us to process this data and present it in a business-friendly view.

Any decent data visualization software will also contain smart data-wrangling capabilities that connect all of your data sources to find and prepare information for visualization. This process, called virtualization, hides the IT complexity, so you don't have to be a data scientist with advanced SQL knowledge to access this data. It supports existing APIs while providing native support for SQL, SQL scripts, Javascript, HTML5, and more.

2. Advanced Analytics

AI-driven analytics and dashboards can take this newly processed big data from your various data sources and produce impressive visuals by automatically identifying key data. Interactive dashboards, with a simple drag-and-drop interface, can quickly and easily generate these insights. This is excellent news for non-technical users, as the ease of use empowers all of your team members to become data analysts with just a few clicks. Predictive analytics is beneficial for decision-making in business. Using machine learning, complex data is processed with algorithms to identify market trends, evaluate assets, implement predictive maintenance, and more.

3. Best Data Visualization Tools

It seems pretty obvious that data visualization software should contain data visualization tools. However, not all software is created equal. Most platforms will have templates for basic graphs, diagrams, and infographics — but what about interactive visuals? Can its data visualization tools incorporate real-time data? The type of chart you may need depends on your goal, whether pitching a presentation for a new product or analyzing customer relationships.

Simple bar charts, pie charts, and scatter plots remain extremely effective when analyzing performance metrics and identifying outliers. Newer data visualization features, such as interactive maps and dashboards, can also drill down to explore details and customize which data is included. This kind of data visualization has been utilized during the COVID-19 pandemic to help the public understand real-time data. Health organizations like Johns Hopkins University use interactive charts, heat maps, and geographic maps to gain new insights and make the best decisions to slow the virus's spread.

4. Centralized Enterprise Reporting

Data visualization software brings all of your data sources together into one visual platform, which revolutionizes business intelligence as we know it. Data from vendors, customers, operations, and more can all be accessed from a single dashboard to analyze complex relationships. These interactive dashboards can even be accessed from mobile devices, so critical business insights are always within reach. ERPs can be managed differently by using data visualization tools to analyze real-time business data and deliver actionable insights across the organization.

Because human beings are primed for visual cognition, it makes sense that we use visuals to interpret data. The best data visualization tools can even automatically identify trends and patterns that we might usually miss. Utilizing data visualization software is the best way to get a deeper understanding of customers and business operations — enabling faster, more informed decision-making.

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