Analytics Tips: Choosing Reporting Tools for Data Visualization

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.
Data Visualization Quality
Take note of what makes the best way to display data visually.
Overall, to use data visualization successfully, managers should consider three aspects in selecting a data visualization platform:
  • Audience
  • Purpose
  • 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.
Open source programming solutions are increasingly being repented through Javascript frameworks, such as D3 (, a Javascript library designed for data visualization needs.
Business managers should keep in mind, however, that custom build visualization can sometimes involve a development team which can not only build the dashboard but can highlight the organization’s capability of responding to reporting.  The good news is that because Javascript is being increasingly used, businesses can leverage its web development team.  And in some cases, programming language may not be extensive used, if at all.  Overall managers must first access an organization’s development capability to build an open source visualization that enhances how an organization functions.

Purchase the book The Entrepreneur Within Volume 3 via @TEWyou


The Entrepreneur Within Volume 3
Authors of The Entrepreneur Within Volume 3; Julie Holloway, Vau’ve Davis, Pierre DeBois, Dr. Toi Dennis, Andrea “Dre” Nichols Everett, Tamika Maria Price
The Entrepreneur Within TEW3
The TEW3 Volume 3 authors, at the book launch party just outside of Chicago.


The Entrepreneur Within Vol 3

Need an inspiration for winning customers as you build your business? Get the book The Entrepreneur Within, Volume 3, a collection of tips and insights from over 20 entrepreneurs from different walks of life.

The sixth chapter features Zimana owner Pierre DeBois, a six year veteran of digital marketing analytics technology.  Read his chapter to gain 10 useful tips to operate your business effectively.

The chapters include an excellent variety of stories, such as branding insights from expert Vau’ve Davis, the birth of a DJ service from Chicago DJ Rodrigo Alvear, and hard truths of entrepreneurship from business expert Angelia Hopkins. Enjoy comments of startup faith from Tiffany Stevens. The experience of business owners run the gamut, from Daniel Lewis of Lewis Notary to the psychology services from Kasia Wereszczynska, which also serves the nonprofit women’s mental health foundation In Her Shoes.

Each chapter contains tips and actionable steps to turn dreams, talents, and abilities into a fulfilling, successful business, all while helping others along the way. If looking for a supportive community for entrepreneurs that do even more work than they talk, the Entrepreneur Within You community is for you!

Pierre DeBois TEW3

The book retails for $16 (Amazon Kindle version $9).

To order The Entrepreneur Within, Volume 3, click on the Paypal button below. Once your select your copies, your order will be shipped within 2-3 business days.

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Thank you for purchasing a copy! (and don’t forget to pick up a copy of Vol 1 and Vol 2, already available! )

Tips for A Better Customer Experience Through Better Site and App Performance

Web development professionals have long considered page load speed as a valuable performance metric meant to reflect a positive online experience for a website visitor. Today’s consumers have adopted that consideration –  and so should your business.

Faster page load times will help ensure your fast-moving mobile customers are seeing a great offer instead of an annoyingly slow site, particularly when digital signage and mobile devices are involved.

Consumers increasingly use smartphones to complete personal tasks. For banking customers it means checking balances, reviewing transactions, or receive alerts while on the go.  Retail customers may be looking to take advantage of free shipping.  No matter the business type, customers expect sites and apps to load pages easily with a minimal of delay.

The banking industry offers a clear B2B example of the shift to mobile beyond just e-commerce and retail. According to a Forrester report on banking trends, US mobile banking adoption among consumers had grown rapidly, “more than doubling from 5% of online adults in 2007 to 12% in Q2 2010.” The report also had predicted that by 2015 one in five US adults will be using mobile banking.

Some nuances specific for financial service activity have indeed emerged.  According to an Adobe Mobile Consumer Survey, mobile users indicated page load speed to be a priority.  Among surveyed mobile users who use financial services, page navigation was the highest concern.

The activity highlights how essential yet subtle a role page load speed plays in campaign success. Marketers relying on mobile campaigns and digital signage must monitor page load as a performance indicator. The quality of page speed performance will eliminate a weakness if signage media or a remarketing paid search is meant to encourage customers to use your app and ultimately its services.

A few tips can make sure that the right page quality is being experienced. While there can be technical reasons for a slowly recalled page, the tips can be considered outside of a skill set of an IT team.


  1. Identify the kinds of tablet and mobile devices used to arrive to the website. Many analytics solutions can reveal mobile devices models and OS visitors are using to arrive on tagged pages. Knowing what customers use can dictate design elements for landing pages and whether a native app versus an app would fit customers’ needs.


  1. Audit the website and landing pages for potential hindrances – additional tags or business blog plugins can potentially increase the number of calls to a hosting server, increasing page load speed and deterring visitors from accomplishing tasks quickly.


  1. Consider in-store signage campaigns (or online content) that demonstrate how to use mobile applications.  Providing a context for app usage so can help answer regularly occurring navigation questions regarding mobile applications and encourage more usage – this can drive analytic initiatives liked to the app and learn more insights for further refinements.


These tips focus on managing the digital campaigns across a number of touchpoints. Ultimately managing page load speed can be a great lead to closely knowing how on-the-go customers experience your services.

SEO Tips: Why Updating SEO Maintenance Is Critical To Marketing Success

Over the years experts have emphasized or de-emphasized of SEO tactics with the advent of new platforms or technology.  Take social media for example. SEO tactics at first required just a focus on a website content and link structure.  Today, examining social media usage should be included in a SEO plan, since Bing and Google have added social sharing clues into social engine results.  Platforms such as Pinterest have started to verify accounts with associated websites, creating a stronger digital presence in some instances. Moreover, the advent of HTML5 has introduced new variations of web page element which needs to be optimized in some cases. So new technology means updating SEO maintenance is essential.

Another factor is the increased usage of mobile devices – customers search patterns can differ under mobile. Moreover customers can have a immediate purchase intent when accessing a site on the go. Thus deciding how to display your online presence for mobile search is necessary.

Finally, page load speed can also be a factor in encouraging return visitors, so examining page load performance lead to changes which may impact SEO tactics. Minimizing images would mean a new set of image files which can then be named with intended keywords, for example.

All of these factors mean that a website can become limited by both changes in the business (which drive content changes – imagine the need to remove a discontinued service, and you have the idea) and the opportunity to incorporate new web developments to better enhance the customer experience online.

Thus recording SEO audit dates becomes essential in managing website changes and in guiding when to update a site.  Businesses should be particularly aware of how the site generates content. Frequently updated content drives the need to audit. The successful maintenance of that content will be what ultimately drive branding, leads, and customers who will purchase from a business.