There is no shortage of data in today’s world. We are creating 2,500,000,000,000,000,000 (2.5 quintillion) bytes of it each day, according to IBM. Every action people take online leaves a footprint. The challenge for businesses is in identifying the data relevant to them, understanding it, and using it to improve their productivity. With an overwhelming amount to sort through and analyze, you need smart tools, which is where data visualizations come in.
For the uninitiated, a data visualization is the presentation of data in a pictorial or graphical format, turning it into a landscape you can explore with your eyes. It simplifies information making the process of learning easier and, some might say, more enjoyable.
Here’s a closer look at the ways it can help make your organization more productive.
Visual Learning is More Efficient
Humans are visual creatures. According to Haig Kouyoumdjian Ph.D., visuals help us to retrieve and retain information more effectively. When comparing written words with pictures, words (and numbers) are absorbed linearly and take more effort to commit to memory, while pictures can be absorbed almost instantaneously.
Think about it. Would you rather read 1,000 words explaining a topic or see a visualization that shows the main points?
By using data visualizations, members within organizations can quickly communicate complex information to each other, saving time while gaining a deeper understanding of the business.
Use Patterns and Trends to Make Predictions
When data is presented visually, it also allows you to identify patterns and trends that aren’t as apparent otherwise. This can help organizations make connections and predictions which empower leaders to make better decisions.
Here’s an example. This visualization from Echelon Insights features the most talked about news stories on Twitter in 2014.
You can quickly identify the largest spikes, how they compare, and what they have in common. You may also compare 2014 to previous years to find out if spikes come at similar times of the year. If you are the owner of a news site, this information could be valuable to you as you could align your future content with the types of news that cause spikes in interest.
Gartner stated that “Identifying patterns, anticipating outcomes, and proactively optimizing a response will be the basis for competition in the future.”
Unite Teams with Data as a Driving Force
Gartner also predicted, “In the next 10 years, the companies that don’t have analytics deeply embedded in their business model will most likely cease to exist.”
Why? Many of the answers to questions about what should be done next lie in data. Organizations that ask the right questions, uncover the answers, and take action accordingly, will be untouchable by others that don’t. But how does an organization deeply embed analytics into its business model?
Data visualizations are a step in the right direction as they make data accessible and understandable to organizations at large, not just a select few. Further, they can be integrated into workflows in various ways, uniting teams with data as a driving force.
Put Data in Context
Visualizing data can also help to put it into context. When reading through data, it can often be hard to tie it to the big picture. Data visualization can allow you to view multiple data sets simultaneously to see how they relate and impact each other.
For example, you may ask, Which country spends the most on their military? After pulling data, you may find it’s the U.S. However, that’s not the whole story. How does the U.S. compare to other countries regarding how much of their available budget they spend on military-related expenses? By pulling up that data, you may quickly see that the U.S. ranks much lower on the list. This comparison gives you a broader understanding of the answer to your original question.
Overlaying multiple data sets can similarily grant you a wider perspective on the topics you wish to learn about within your company, helping you to make better decisions.
Tell Meaningful Stories
Lastly, there are stories in data, but to an untrained or uninterested eye, they are easy to miss. By communicating the right data through graphs or images, you can bring it to life, connect with the audience, and inspire change quicker. More importantly, you can ensure that all the members of the team clearly understand the facts behind why a decision was made. This increased understanding moves a team closer together to execute on goals with less friction.
Discover How Data Visualizations Can Boost Your Organization’s Productivity with Brightscout
Over the last ten years, we have seen an explosion of data creation. As a result, organizations of many kinds are scrambling to come up with the best ways to tap into it and use it to their advantage. There’s no question that data visualization is a helpful step toward achieving that goal.
If you would like to learn more about you can integrate data visualizations into your business, contact our experts at Brightscout today. We offer many creative solutions such as taking data out of spreadsheets and embedding it into internal applications, embedding data visualizations where your team is working, mining data from maps and location data and viewing it in motion, and much more. Get in touch today to brainstorm a custom solution tailored to your needs!
“Let the dataset change your mindset, and maybe it can change your behavior.” – David McCandless
Are there other ways that Data Visualization can boost productivity within the organization?