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Advanced data visualization guide: How visualizing data can boost BI

Discover how new data visualization tools offer more analytics capabilities and can help business users grasp information faster. Also learn about the new challenges they present to business intelligence teams.


A new generation of data visualization tools has arrived on the scene, claiming to allow end users to access business intelligence (BI) and analytics data in eye-catching and easy-to-understand formats. Advanced data visualization software also offers new ways to view data, through visuals such as bubble charts, word clouds and geospatial heat maps. Used correctly, visualization technology can deliver business insights to users faster than they can get it with traditional BI tools, and visualizing data can also simplify the process of analyzing big data sets.

But advanced visualization tools are often complex to deploy and use, requiring support from outside consultants or the services of internal data scientists. Many smaller businesses, and even some larger ones, may not have the resources to invest in the needed skills. Companies also must decide how to divide usage of the tools between IT staffers and business users. Placing most of the responsibility in the hands of IT might be the best approach in some organizations, while others might be better suited to an agile approach that empowers business users to create visualizations and develop reports on their own. Either way, the flashy elements of data visualization tools may draw attention away from the primary purpose behind them: supporting efforts to meet business goals.

This guide examines news, trends and best practices associated with advanced data visualization. Get advice from experienced users and industry consultants on how to sort through the available options, as well as how to implement and manage data visualization technology to help your organization achieve its BI objectives.

1Visualization tools and trends-

Key trends in advanced data visualization tools and applications

Advanced data visualization tools can be used to present data in visually compelling ways, potentially enabling companies to expand the BI capabilities they provide to executives and other employees. The articles in this section explore data visualization trends and offer real-world examples of companies gaining measurable benefits through the use of visualization software.


Make sense of messy data with a sound data visualization strategy

Data visualization tools can help make BI data more comprehensible to business users, but there's more to it than creating catchy graphics. Continue Reading


Data visualization helps companies transcend the usual BI capabilities

Learn how Muddy Boots Software and Volvo's U.K. subsidiary are using advanced data visualization tools to go beyond conventional business intelligence. Continue Reading


GIS software aids health industry in problem solving

Read about how geographic information system software assists health policymakers in achieving better quality care while lowering costs. Continue Reading


Nonprofit finds software with the right reporting, visualization mix

DonorsChoose, which tracks data on donations to local schools, deployed new analytics software that combines data visualization and advanced reporting capabilities. Continue Reading


Good governance needed on efforts to visualize big data

Companies can use advanced data visualization tools to visualize big data, but greater IT agility and data governance are required, two Accenture consultants said. Continue Reading


Location intelligence puts data visualizations on the map

There are a growing number of potential uses for location intelligence tools in analyzing and visualizing data about customers and business operations. Continue Reading


Mobile BI and location-based data make a good match

Combining location data and mobile BI tools can help users take analytics and data visualization into the field, but there are pitfalls to avoid. Continue Reading

2Visualization best practices-

Tips for managing an effective data visualization program

Data visualization can be a key element in successful BI management, particularly when BI teams follow established best practices for visualizing data. In this section, consultants and experienced users discuss the potential advantages of data visualization and provide guidance on how to gain business benefits while avoiding the temptation to get caught up in creating flashy graphics that get in the way of effective data analysis.


Focus on the business value of data visualization, not glamour

While data visualization tools have a "cool" factor, speakers at a TDWI conference said users should focus on using them to solve real business problems. Continue Reading


Stay on track with best practices for data visualization

Avoid heading in the wrong direction on data visualization efforts by following some best practices for managing successful projects. Continue Reading


Keep BI dashboards simple to meet data visualization program goals

The graphics built into BI dashboards can confuse users if they're too flashy, consultant David Loshin warns. Continue Reading


Help users envision business success through effective data visualization

Consultant Lee Feinberg explains data visualization's potential benefits and shares his thoughts on best practices, as well as common missteps to avoid. Continue Reading


Lead better BI programs with these tips

In a Q&A about his book on BI management, David Loshin discusses how business intelligence managers can improve BI success through data visualization and other steps. Continue Reading


Data visualization terms

Learn and review terminology related to data visualization in this brief glossary.

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