If you’re in business and you have a little data – ok, a lot of data for many businesses – you may be feeling some fear. It may seemingly be fear from imagining the preparation that is needed with big data.
But more than likely it’s not.
It’s visualizing the data – or more precisely, how to best visualize it to take action.
Data accuracy is important to build trust not only in analytic solutions but in the people who use the reports from those solutions. This means marketers must select report interfaces that control the range, look, and feel of the presented information with respect to organizational needs.
In short, what graphic formats should appear with the data on hand?
Let’s look at a few basic options, with a general eye for war they are good for and what drawbacks can occur.
Overall, to use data visualization successfully, managers should consider three aspects in selecting a data visualization platform:
What visually works best for the data
The last point sounds subjective, but selecting the right visual graph is really about assessing trends and deviations. What data would you like to see as a trend, and what would provide a useful alert as a deviation? A trend reflects what behavior is developing consistently, while a deviation notes a striking change in a trend. The right graph will help highlight both easily detectable trends and deviations
Spreadsheets Are Better Than Before But Still Have Limitations
Spreadsheets have their value, but they usually offer value for relative small batches of data. As more columns and rows of data are added, the ability to Increasingly difficult to process relationship among the data becomes difficult. Spreadsheets present visuals which only allow for isolating figures. People can’t visually register but one or two numbers at a time. This is why many plugins use spreadsheets to highlight a change in value.
Keep in mind, however, that dynamic changes may be harder to spot. Use a bar chart or trend chart to help highlight spikes. But using these in a sheet means data updates have to be timely to make the deviations and trends helpful to business decisions.
Templates can provide a starting point…but in some cases just a starting point
Template solutions can provide a standard starting point for viewing how data should be best displayed. There are a few excellent tools that can visualize data within dashboard options. The most popular tools are usually the self-service BI tools such as Spotfire and Tableau.
There is one drawback with template dashboard solutions: the visualization and concepts are delivered to the user by the solution provider, rather than being custom for certain instances. A template-based data visualization tool assumes a preconceived notion of what data should look like, or what relationships should exist.
Intelligence from data is not always obvious. This means assumptions from a template-based data visualization tool may not reveal intelligence relevant to a business objective.
What Open Source Data Visualization Provides
Where spreadsheets provides a singular representation of data and basic graphs, data visualization based on open source programming can represent active interrelationships that are constantly updated according to real time data input. This arrangement provides faster reporting and faster responses to the reporting results.
Ready to be a data scientist but nor sure where to start? This useful image describes how R programming and Python are used within data science, from their unique development history to salary commanded in the data science field. You can compare the pros and cons for each programming language, and learn to select the right one for your development needs.
This post features a video of an informal presentation from Stephen Goldsmith. The talk was given in Chicago at the Microsoft Technology Center as part of the meetup group Chicago City Data User Group. Goldsmith showed innovation and thought leadership during his roles as Deputy Mayor of New York City and two-term Mayor of Indianapolis. His efforts changed how many cities view technology as a driver of physical and civic improvement. He is now the Daniel Paul Professor of Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
The talk centers on the civic usage of data. A brief 30 minute discussion, Goldsmith noted about the challenging need to use data to improve the discretion of government agency managers. Goldsmith believed that the data should not be used to embolden bureaucratic processes, but to instead align those processes to serve citizens better and to better deploy precious resources. Check out his comments and insights in the video below.
Additional information for slides and code from Alex are below:
Creating content that attracts visitors to your site or blog is never easy. The value for content certainly exists. Marketing Profs noted that 79% of B2B firms that deploy content marketing create articles. But creating and implementing content when you’re on the hook to get it done is hard.
But as interest in content marketing has developed over the past few years, a few new tools and new platforms have sprung up to improve idea creation. A few steps can make brainstorming less formidable and reveal the topics that your customers care about.
Monitor platforms such as Quora, Reddit, or LinkedIn for key questions that are emerging in your industry. Take a look at the answers that pique your interest. If there are some that you do not agree, build a post around what your answer might be. YouTube is also a good resource for how-to videos and short teachable programs.
Scan hashtags and industry-related search terms on the social media platform of choice. Hashtags appeared regularly on Twitter at first, but now Iinstagram Google Plus, and Facebook permit hashtag usage. This means you should research the hashtag usage on the platform you intend to use. See what issues are bubbling to the top and write about those. Some great hashtag tools are located here . Find the key topics and folks are talking about and consider weighing in with your two cents on those topics–and don’t forget to feature their tweets prominently in your post.
Develop a list of 10-20 key blogs in your industry, put them in a blog reader and sift through them once a week. Find out what topics are being discussed and see if any intrigue enough for a blogpost of your own. If you reference the articles in your blog post, make sure you link back to the original post.
The aforementioned tips can provide a manageable list of sources for highly regarded topics. Give these a try to reenergize your content, enhance your measurement results for your blog, and connect with your customers further.