Data visualization is the presentation of information in a more insightful format — like a graph, chart, scatter plot or diagram. This process reveals trends from thousands or millions of data points. And, seeing information presented visually makes it easier for the human brain to derive insights.1
While you can always put data into an Excel spreadsheet to compile information, data visualization can showcase the same data in ways that take insights much further. Business intelligence tools combine and layer large data sets. Using real-time interactive updates, these tools make it possible to create data visualizations that improve humans’ ability to interpret data — simply, they give your company a better way to understand the information you’re collecting.
With data visualization, you can find unexpected trends and get a crystal clear view of your financials, sales figures and customer information.
The benefits of data visualization
With the right data visualization methods, marketers can identify targets, sales teams can analyze opportunities and finance teams can better understand how your earnings and savings fluctuate. And, they can do it quickly. When information is easy to consume and understand, data analysis and decision-making get a jump start.
Technology and mobile devices that people interact with daily create tons of information. That’s a lot of complex data to analyze and track. But, with automated tools, machine learning and AI-powered data integration, you can organize all your data and make sense of it. That’s where data visualization comes in.
Hidden within those vast amounts of data are new insights about your business that you couldn’t get from an Excel sheet, a standard line graph or a simple bubble chart. Complex visualizations open new ways to interpret the data. With the ability to compare and integrate data sets, you get an eagle-eye view of how your business operates and how your customers engage with your products.
But, your data visualization is only as good as the data you put into it. Be sure to integrate and organize your data before you import data points into visualization software.
Prep your data for visualization tools
Before you experiment with visualization techniques, start by organizing your data.
Whether it’s a customer name spelled two different ways in your customer relationship management (CRM) tool or an out-of-date address on a client list, these errors skew your data — and your results. Combat this to make the most out of your visualizations by systematizing and auditing your data sources.
Through this process, you may find there’s data you didn’t know you had. Whether it’s shipping details or sales data from specific regions, once you catalog this info, it can actually be useful to your business.
When your data is clean, feed it into a platform like Tableau to create graphical representations. Box plots, treemaps, line charts and histograms are just a few ways you can visualize your data to make sense of it. When it’s in the right format, you can get powerful insights from your visual representations.
Examples of data visualization
There are many types of data visualizations, and they are designed to showcase different types of data in different ways to make it easier to pull insights from information. Take a look at these examples and consider what would work best for the various use cases at your organization.
This type of data visualization colors predefined areas on geographic maps based on a data summary. During the Covid-19 pandemic, government agencies worldwide used choropleth maps to compare Covid-19 statistics across regions. With constant updates and interactive visualizations, officials and residents could get a clear view of how numbers were rising or falling and how public health organizations were responding to and managing the pandemic.
Interactive area charts
Data visualization techniques like interactive area charts compare customer ages with the desktop or mobile devices used to complete transactions. This functionality helps you discover how people interact with your brand online.
You can use a heat map to compare geographical data with the social media platforms your customers use. This helps you learn how to best tailor your marketing to populations in specific regions. Every way you slice the data gives you different insights that you wouldn’t normally see.
Don’t stop at just one example of data visualization. You can craft data-based storytelling by combining multiple graphs, bar charts or stats into a single infographic. By presenting your data in a condensed visual format, you can more easily make compelling arguments to clients, stakeholders and higher-ups within your company.
Data visualization success stories
Take a look at how some organizations found new opportunities, reduced their budgets and created cohesive reporting platforms with data visualization.
Understand data with visualizations to find opportunities
A multinational automotive corporation needed to improve communication with dealerships with integrated data through Tableau. With Informatica, the organization was able to organize and visualize data to capitalize on new market opportunities in electronic vehicles, autonomous driving and ride-sharing.
Save money with data science and visualizations
To scale to meet growth and disrupt its market, Home Point Financial needed a better data warehouse solution to drive better insights. With Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services and Cloud Data Integration, they not only achieved cost savings by integrating their data, but they also saved time and resources by visualizing data in Tableau.
Create a robust and accurate metrics platform to build better visualizations
The Community Technology Alliance wanted to combine all their data streams into a single source of truth. They used Informatica’s Intelligent Cloud Services to make sense of disparate data sets and imported them into Tableau to create visualizations that helped determine what was working and not working across their communities.
Get your data ready for visualization
Data visualization helps you solve problems. Whether it’s client contact information or financial performance stats, your data holds the secrets to improving, optimizing and growing your business. With AI-augmented data cataloging and data quality solutions, you can find and rectify problems in your data you didn’t even know you had to improve your data visualizations.
Working with the best, most accurate data gives you an edge. With the insights data visualizations provide, you remove guesswork and take a necessary step toward making better, more-informed decisions.
Learn how to build a foundation of trusted data that powers analytics and visualizations. Get started now.
1 Visualizations That Really Work.” Harvard Business Review, June 2016.