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How to Use Data Visualization When Excel is Not Enough

With 1.1 billion Internet sites worldwide and more than 2.5 trillion bytes of data created every day, data production has never been higher. This mass of data is waiting for one thing – to be exploited and analyzed.

Visual representation of data, or data visualisation (Dataviz), gives meaning to this mass of data and has many benefits.

1. Treat Big Data

Faced with this exponential growth of the data we collect, companies must analyze the data to make the best decisions and keep their competitive advantage. Many executives use the Excel spreadsheet to perform their analysis. But the widely known spreadsheet has shown its limits when it has to process over a million lines. Data visualization tools are adapted to the analysis of these “Big Data”.

2. Automate the generation of analysis

Dataviz allows you to work quickly and easily with large files. In a few minutes, it is possible to set up visualizations (the famous Excel charts) that can aggregate several millions of data, update in real time and automatically if the tool is connected to the source data.

3. Consolidate multiple data sources

These tools can also handle a wide variety of data: analytics data, CRM data, use of social networks, data internal to the company…The tools integrate add-ons to connect directly to data such as Google Analytics, Salesforce … There may also be external data such as weather.

4. Facilitate the understanding of data

By using graphs rather than tables, dataviz makes it easier for all departments to understand the data. With these dynamic tools (the data are updated as often as necessary, by clicking on a graph, it is possible to see the details in another…), the users appropriate the data and analyze it under the angle that interests them. It is the users who “plays” with their data and obtains the pertinent information for them.

5. Accelerate decision-making

With consolidated reliable data almost in real time, it’s easy to make decisions that fit your business. If a significant evolution of visitors to a website occurs, we can immediately check the evolution of turnover. If a communication campaign is launched in a country, the activation rate of this campaign can be monitored in real time.

The Dataviz project must be implemented with meticulousness

Faced with these beautiful prospects, the most resistant to change will advance fallacious reasons such as: “I am good at Excel, I do not need to change tools” or “It must be very technical to put this in place.” In order to carry out a dataviz project serenely, it is necessary to respect a certain number of rules.

1. Frame your need

Ask yourself the right questions:

  • What key figures do I need to consolidate?
  • How to recover this data?
  • Where are they stored?
  • Are they clean and reliable?
  • Do I need to collect my data in one place?
  • Or is it possible to connect directly to the source data?
  • Should my data be hosted at my home? In the Cloud?
  • Do I have the resources to create and maintain a datamart?
  • Will I give my teams a hand to build Dataviz?
  • Who will have to use Dataviz tool?

2. Choose a solution from Dataviz

Market leaders include Qlikview, Spotfire and Tableau solutions. These tools all have their qualities and defects; you will have to choose according to your needs framed upstream.

3. Implement your project

Once the solution chosen, the validated budgets, here we go! Connect your Dataviz tool to your source data (stored in your datamart, in external tools, locally on your computer, etc.), build your own visualizations and publish them.

Big Data experts can help you industrialize the analysis of your data. They will bring you a new and objective look at your business and save you time implementation. But do not forget that it is up to you to win the internal membership to see this type of project emerge!

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