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Data's Beauty: In the Eye of the Beholder

by Dashboard Insight, Dashboard InsightThursday, June 13, 2013

We love it when people talk about data visualization enhancing the way people do business, speeding up decision making and actions, and well generally helping to make the world a better place. As such we found the article below by David Stodder - TDWI to be right up our alley and hope you do too.

How can organizations use data visualization, visual analytics, and visual data discovery to improve decision-making, collaboration, and operational execution? We present three key insights from the latest TDWI research.

Data visualization is one of the innovations of our time. From the moment most of us wake up in the morning and fire up our tablets, smartphones, and laptops, visual representations of data fill our lives. Developments in, for example, stock markets, sports, and science, are increasingly told through data visualization. We encounter beautifully rendered "infographics" to explain trends and patterns in data. News organizations such as The New York Times compete on analytics by serving up infographics to shed light on aspects of news stories that would otherwise be buried in text. Such infographics are shared widely in blogs and social media, turning what might otherwise have been obscure data findings into the day's biggest buzz.

Thus, although organizations need to be mindful of business users who have visual impairments, it is clear that their investments in data visualization libraries, tools, and applications -- and the professionals who know how to implement them -- are worthwhile. Visualization is often the best and most persuasive way of communicating quantitative insights. "We acquire more information through vision than through all of the other senses combined," wrote Colin Ware, in his book Information Visualization. "The 20 billion or so neurons of the brain devoted to analyzing visual information provide a pattern-finding mechanism that is a fundamental component of our cognitive activity." The broad popularity of infographics is pushing higher expectations for data visualization and graphical interaction capabilities in business intelligence and analytics tools. Visualization, coupled with the expanding use of analytics, should be a key concern for data management because its growth affects how data is provisioned for users and the value they gain from it. Good data visualization is critical to making smarter decisions and improving productivity; poorly created visualizations, on the other hand, can mislead users and make it more difficult for them to overcome the daily data onslaught.

Data Visualization and Discovery: Research Insights

I recently finished writing a TDWI Research Report, Data Visualization and Discovery for Better Business Decisions, which will be published in early July and is the subject of an upcoming TDWI Webinar. "Visual discovery," which brings together data visualization with easy-to-use, self-directed data analysis is, of course, one of the hottest trends in BI and analytics. Users are implementing visual discovery tools to explore data relationships between and across sources, perform what-if analysis, and discover previously unseen patterns and trends in data.

The research report, which includes the results of an extensive survey of the TDWI community, focuses on how organizations can use data visualization, visual analytics, and visual data discovery to improve decision-making, collaboration, and operational execution. Briefly, here are three insights from the report.

Read the rest of the article here.

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