Data scientists and analysts work with large volumes of information as raw materials. Their job is to take the unprocessed ingredients and find ways to use them in productive ways that can be used to inform decision-makers. The insights gained from these data resources often spell the difference between companies being market leaders or followers. In today’s business world, the organization that makes the best use of its data resources has a distinct advantage over its rivals.
The information assets that are used in analytics are usually stored in a database. Traditionally, this would have been a relational database that required the data to be in a structured format. This kind of database is still widely used and structured data makes up much of the information that organizations collect and store. Big data and other new information streams also provide unstructured data that needs to make use of different types of database solutions.
Regardless of the kind of database used to store and process enterprise information, one of the business goals is to use it to make informed decisions about such things as market trends, product popularity, and customer satisfaction. Analysis can produce a lot of statistical insight into the data that may be vitally important as input for management decisions. Unfortunately, these insights may be hidden in a mass of complicated numbers that are difficult for stakeholders to interpret directly.
Representing Data Visually
Representing information visually has been in the human race’s bag of tricks since cave painters used pigment to display images of successful hunting expeditions. Unbeknownst to these ancient artists was the fact that our brains have an amazing capacity to process visual information. This manifests itself in a variety of ways that have contributed to our ability to form societies and grow as a species. Research has found that as little as 13 milliseconds is sufficient to allow the human brain to recognize and remember an image.
Data visualization is the graphical display of information. This technique takes advantage of our brain’s predilection toward receiving and understanding data in a visual form. It can be used to effectively present large volumes of complex data through graphs and dashboards. Visualization can make it possible for extremely complicated information to be depicted in a format accessible to everyone.
Selecting the right visualization for the job is imperative for maximizing its value to stakeholders. The aim should be to tell a story in the simplest way possible while conveying the important underlying information. To accomplish this goal you need to have a clear idea of what your data is meant to communicate. You should also take into account the stakeholders for whom the visualization is intended. Armed with this information, you can experiment with different types of visualizations that address the specific combination of message and audience.
Here are some of the types of charts and visualizations that can be used to make your data tell a compelling story. They can be used as stand-alone presentations or as the foundation of real-time dashboards that are regularly updated to display dynamic data.
- Bar charts – A bar chart is a basic construction that can often be sufficient to tell your story. Don’t overcomplicate things by searching for other solutions when a simple bar chart may do the trick.
- Pie charts – When presenting information where the parts add up to 100%, a pie chart is a useful visualization. They are best used when five or fewer partitions are created due to the difficulty in identifying small differences in 2D angles.
- Line charts – Line charts can be very useful for trend analysis and for displaying changing data values over time.
- Scatter plots – The purpose of scatter plots is to demonstrate the correlation between two variables. Trend lines are useful additions to scatter plots that indicate whether a positive or negative correlation exists.
- Symbol maps – Displaying information such as population size can be done through symbol maps. This type of presentation can show variations across diverse geographical locations in an easily understandable presentation.
- Tables – In certain cases, a simple table may be the most effective kind of visualization. Gridlines and alternating colors can make it easier on the eye and more accessible.
Choosing the Right Visualization Tool
The ability to present your data in the most effective format is dependent on the visualization tool you use. Aqua Data Studio is a comprehensive tool that provides teams with many features that streamline the process of administering databases and developing database applications. Aqua Data Studio supports teams working in multi-platform environments and is compatible with over 40 different databases from SQL Server to MongoDB. Using the tool’s unified interface increases productivity on all your environment’s database platforms.
One of the outstanding features of Aqua Data Studio is its ability to create visualizations from the information contained in the diverse databases it supports. Using an intuitive drag and drop interface, users can easily explore data relationships and create charts and dashboards to make their findings available to decision-makers. This can prove to be an essential tool by making your data more accessible to the whole organization and increasing its value.