With the exponential growth of data, there is a new concern in the data analytics and Business Intelligence world: how to achieve the best data visualization. We need to present data in a way that can communicate insights to decision-makers and benefit any employee. The trend is to create more digestible and user-friendly dashboards and reports.
Data visualization practices are shifting from the typical graphs and charts to beautiful dashboards. According to TechTarget, “a business intelligence dashboard is a data visualization tool that displays the current status of metrics and key performance indicators for an enterprise. Dashboards consolidate and arrange numbers, metrics and sometimes performance scorecards on a single screen. They may be tailored for a specific role and display metrics targeted for a single point of view or department.” The shift towards dashboards is happening because they provide the user with a customizable interface and allow him to access real-time data. Dashboards are not static and they are smart. They present data in an intuitive way, meaning the user can understand the information naturally. And they allow users to drill into data—to access deeper data and details on any data cell in the dashboard.
Beautiful Dashboards in Centralized BI
BI tools like Necto 16 enable users to create interactive, collaborative, and personalized dashboards that offer a quick view of the business health and trend lines, based on a powerful KPI function, grids, and other customizable components. Necto’s dashboards are powerful tools that allow the creation of complex views, taken from an unlimited number of data sources. Users can define pages to include several components in a single page. There is no need for coding or complex IT requests. Business users can manipulate the dashboards as needed, while IT governs over the data. This model ensures a single version of the truth.
Speaking of a single version of the truth, some BI tools allow any user to manipulate the dashboards and to share information, but are not centralized. It can get messy. BI solutions MUST be centralized. This keeps the data safe. It allows for users to enjoy the benefits of dashboards, while maintaining a single version of the truth in the data.
One of the biggest benefits of dashboards is that users can share information through them. Everyone can access the same information and be on the same page. Dashboards are easy to view, understand, and share. Users can comment on a specific piece of information in any dashboard and create ad-hoc problem solving teams.
Achieving the right visualization
Dashboards need to be easy to understand. Users from different departments and teams will access the same data and they should all be able to analyze and gain insights from it without needing complicated explanations.
There are best practices to make sure dashboards communicate data in the most successful way possible. A good dashboard will combine different types of charts and graphs, different colors, and most important, infographics. The latest are disrupting data visualization. Infographics allow companies to craft and deliver a story that mitigates the risk of poor interpretation or understanding among audience members or users.
Visualizing data with infographics helps boost engagement and significantly improve information retention.
Poynter cited the suggestions of computer science professor Tamara Munzer who urged infographic designers to compare items side-by-side instead of in succession of one another. She believes this because the brain is more likely to remember spatially represented imagery and information than temporally.
Poynter added that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University found denser, more colorful and “unconventional” designs will tend to be far more effective in boosting retention among the audience.
Dashboards with infographics represent the next era of data visualization and report sharing, as this format has been far more effective in engaging audiences and helping them to understand what the information actually means.
Benefits of Visualizing Data in Dashboards
Beautiful and intuitive dashboards—with a combination of graphs, charts, and infographics—are the current data visualization trend. Using dashboards to view your data can benefit you greatly. One of the most important benefits is that it will help you make the data-driven decisions at the right time. Dashboards will help you analyze and understand complex data. With this new understanding, your decisions will become more accurate and will not be based on gut feeling, but rather on facts and data insights.
Another great benefit is that your data will become more valuable to you. You won’t be able to understand a lot of data if it is presented in an endless Excel table. Your chances of getting actionable insights from this data are low. Hence, it does not present much value. But with a proper dashboard, your data will become more digestible, understandable, and will yield more insights to you. Its value will increase significantly and will be reflected on your executive decisions.