There are many ways to analyze and deal with information that will improve organizations' strategic approaches, and modern business intelligence programs are far better than their predecessors when it comes to offering these diverse views. Whereas in the past, a solution would have access to a limited pool of information and deliver relatively straightforward reports on that content, there is more customization to be had today. No matter a firm's industry or circumstances, chances are it can find a wide range of resources to digest and a resonant format for the results. This is a strong incentive for leaders to keep up with BI releases.
Dawn of the dashboard
Instead of receiving a complex parcel of results that can only be digested by an expert, today's BI users can access visually appealing dashboards. This, according to Enterprise Apps Today contributor Wayne Kernochan, is an indication of the progress that has been made behind the scenes. Developers haven't stopped in their quest to increase the quality of BI software, and the results can lead to improved decision-making. Kernochan noted that one function of these graphical representations is granting C-level executives a bird's-eye view of the company at work, allowing them to act immediately on new input.
The presence of helpful data visualizations has transformed the speed at which companies rethink their approaches to strategy. Kernochan explained that the time between high-level decisions on these matters is shortening. Now, instead of setting a direction far in advance and hoping it works out, leaders have the ability to know whether they've made the right call and adjust. The benefits of altering immediate approaches based on recent input are obvious. No longer beholden to one single direction over a calendar year, C-level leaders can follow the contours of their markets and become more efficient than their competitors.
Reliable software makes a difference
Expounding upon the benefits of great BI programs is a fine undertaking, but it's worth mentioning that companies won't get these results unless they choose the right brand of application. This is where solutions such as Necto come in. This program has the added benefit of wide-ranging use cases. Not only is it a great reference for the C-suite, its visualizations can be modified to show statistics relevant to other employees as well, clearing a path to self-service BI throughout the company. From the marketing department to the IT experts, there are numerous individuals within every business who could become more efficient with data.
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.
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.
A dry list of numbers and a dynamic graphic are two very different things. It is this disparity that marks the importance of data visualization and dashboards better than any other example. Creating an easily comprehensible image that immediately conveys information on sight is a powerful differentiator for organizations, and they can use this capability to become more efficient and effective in their fields. Business intelligence processes are becoming more powerful all the time, and as visualization and dashboard tools become closer to standard, organizations without them may wonder why their competitors have become so efficient. Catching up may likewise prove to be difficult.
The power of visuals
According to TheServerSide.com, a summation of data visualization's power came from a recent LinkedIn Tech Talk by consultant Noah Iliinksy. The source reported that he tied the power of a good analytics graphic to the nature of the human brain. Automated pattern recognition within the mind can make a quick association between certain concepts and visual traits. Cramming more information into a limited amount of reading time is the great feat of visualizations. Compare that to reading a long list of written search results or numerical figures and the difference becomes clear. Approaches that use more of the brain are potentially powerful.
What makes a good data visualization? According to TheServerSide.com, these charts should be more sophisticated than the flat shapes users are familiar with. The source indicated that the information used by companies today is deep and complex, a feeling that should ideally be replicated in the colors, shapes and settings used to portray the results of analytics. Viewing meaningful content through a lens that is too simplistic will end up selling the underlying data detail and analytical rigors short. Visualization is a balancing act between images that convey meaning automatically and sophisticated results that yield deep insights.
Choose your software
With the inherent power of the visual data form in mind, Necto 14 uses a complex series of business infographics that convey exactly what users need to know at a given moment. These visualizations can be customized and therefore apply to many different user types with a huge variety of responsibilities. This is in keeping with the recent trend toward self-service BI, wherein users outside of the IT department become the keepers of their own analytics processes. Once, these employees would have put in requests and hoped to get the results back. Now, they don't have time. Business has become fast and visual.