The modern business world generates huge volumes of data. It’s impossible to absorb it all – especially in its raw form. This has led to a growing awareness of the benefits of data visualization – a tool which translates complex information into digestible ‘chunks’. This is not a new approach by any means: maps, charts and diagrams have been presenting complex information in a graphical or pictorial format for hundreds of years. The process of doing this, however, has certainly evolved and improved over time.
The mind is generally much more effective at processing charts and graphs than lists of numbers. When information is represented visually, it helps us understand why things happen. We can compare different patterns and trends, and make informed predictions about future outcomes.
Here are the three main business benefits of data visualization.
1. Take control of your big data
Here’s a sobering fact: the IDC predicts that in 2025, the world will create 180 zettabytes of data (or 180 trillion gigabytes). To give this some context, less than 10 zettabytes was created in 2015. That’s an enormous amount of data to make sense of and use sensibly. Data visualization can help your business condense this ocean of information into actionable insights.
Big data is a somewhat contentious phrase, but there’s no denying the growing volume of available information. But howHoqwow much of it is of real value? It’s crucial that your business makes its large data sets coherent – or it risks using irrelevant information to manage its customer communications.
The problem with manual data analysis and visualization is that it’s tiresome and error-prone. There are only so many ways in which you can manipulate and present the data – and they are quite time-consuming to get right. Tools which provide automated data visualization enable you to present the data in a variety of forms and different levels of detail. If you want a broad overview, no problem. Or, you can drill down into the finer points and highlight data points that are easily missed.
2. Improve your understanding of customer behavior
Your sales and marketing teams need to be able to identify and understand market trends – this helps them communicate with your customers more effectively. While salespeople and marketers becoming increasingly data-driven, they very rarely possess technical knowledge on the same level as data scientists and statisticians.
Nor do they have the time to crunch numbers incessantly and trawl through spreadsheets. At the same time, access to large volumes of valuable data is pointless if you can’t use the information properly.
Data visualization is an incredibly valuable tool for your business. It’s a quick, efficient and highly accessible means of identifying important customer information, giving you instant insight without the burden of manual analysis.
Food and drink businesses, for example, can use data visualization to identify seasonal and time-sensitive purchasing behavior, understand which goods are selling best, and gather customer sentiment around new product lines.
3. Share your information
Data visualization can help unite your entire business behind one vision. When a business integrates its ERP, CRM and other data management systems, it effectively eliminates data siloes. This means that all information across your business is accessible, shareable and far more useful.
A single overview of all customer and company data helps you monitor how back office functions like manufacturing, delivery, finance and HR are impacting sales, marketing, customer service and other business performance related functions.
In today’s highly competitive business environment, accessing these correlations between operations and performance is incredibly important. Not being able to see, for example, that consistently delayed manufacturing processes are damaging customer satisfaction, could make or break the business.
You can also easily review how average delivery times correlate with the number of sales. You could, for example, find that periods of efficient delivery correspond with periods of improved sales. This might encourage you to put extra effort into improving your delivery processes. Your marketing team can then use this enhanced delivery service as a strong brand message to take to market. One of the top benefits of data visualization is that it helps you notice patterns across departments, allowing you to make improvements to relevant systems and processes. Real-time data-visualization empowers your business. It turns seemingly incomprehensible data into art – and gives you the information you need to turn insights into action.