Beyond the basics: The value of visualization

For years, organizations have been gaining rather straightforward insights from business intelligence software. These responses have always been helpful, allowing companies to chart more accurate courses than without the technology. However, in recent years, this breed of software has gradually transformed. Tools have become better, both more powerful and responsive. Instead of making BI into an experts-only tech area, many of these breakthroughs have been designed to improve its appeal to employees outside of the traditional IT section. These moves toward accessibility have unlocked self-service BI use cases and empowered companies at large. After all, the more employees who have their own dashboards, the quicker they can go from raw data to useful insight.

The visual angle
Baseline contributors Nick Millman and John Miller recently explored what happens to business intelligence systems when tools go beyond standard results to offer rich visual accompaniment. This does not mean merely plotting out bar graphs – that capability has existed for years and today's BI developers have become more advanced. Namely, they are interested in tools that can present exactly the information that users need to see at the moment. This will vary by role and circumstances. Millman and Miller explained that there are already examples of these projects in use in enterprise settings.

The authors described speed of insights as one potential advantage of visual information delivery. They posited that when companies design a new operation, they want to know how the project is doing quickly. With a well-designed visualization to put the numbers into a legible form, they can have this insight in a hurry and make the call to continue or cancel the new plan. Responsiveness is at a premium in the current office environment. As more organizations take on advanced analytics and examine their data in close to real-time, reactions will have to become ever faster. Visualization could be one way to ensure organizations accomplish this feat of self-improvement.

Self-service BI
One of the main points to make when developing advanced BI is ensuring that the solution is not uniform. Different employees will have unique needs, and that means organizations should find tools that present an optimized view for the user. This is where solutions such as Necto 14 come in. This suite, which can be accessed across a range of common IT devices, is meant to suit any type of potential user. From the CEO to the marketing section to highly-technical power users, they will all find dashboards that present relevant data.

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