With more and more businesses taking advantage of the cloud’s storage capabilities, big data projects are springing up everywhere and quickly changing the way companies make decisions. The ability to access instant metrics and respond to trends quickly and creatively is what sets prosperous small to medium-sized businesses apart from their competitors. Having piles of big data is not a guaranteed route to success – in fact, it can be counterproductive. That’s why data visualization, which seeks to address the new flood of data in business, is one of the fastest growing fields in the business intelligence landscape.
Dashboards are democratizing data for businesses of all sizes – they are easy to create, manipulate and can be shared with key employees in a company to maximize collaboration. What’s more, they don’t require specialized SQL knowledge, which is a major stumbling block for young companies without the budget to hire IT gurus.
The discrepancy between major and newbie companies’ data strategies can be enormous – not surprisingly, a lack of resources and manpower limits what small businesses can achieve using big data collection. Often, fledgling companies overlook sources of invaluable data, for instance, the insights on customer’s tastes and habits found on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Lisa Kart, research director at Gartner, recently underlined the importance of using data, saying, “Big data can help address a wide range of business problems across many industries […] both enhancing the customer experience and improving process efficiency are the top areas to address.”
Data Analysis Made Easy
Nevertheless, competing with established brands for a share of the market can seem impossible for under-staffed start-ups; especially in light of their substantial data analyzing capabilities that can deliver personalized advertising to customers, based on minute analysis of their Web-surfing habits. Yet ambitious start-ups such as Germany’s datapine are addressing the industry’s need for simple BI solutions for smaller companies. With dashboard software designed to deliver high-impact graphs, charts, tables and gauges in easy to understand graphics, data visualization tools of this kind are reducing information-related headaches across the board. In some cases, businesses are gaining insight into the benefits of conducting big data analysis in the first place by using data visualization software.
It’s clear that without proper context, presentation and instant reporting, big data projects have little value to daily business transactions. Spending hours poring over inflexible Excel charts or painstakingly produced PowerPoint presentations can handicap a business’s ability to address real-time issues in customer satisfaction, workflow or product implementation. Easy to create dashboards give managers the ability to harness instant metrics in their decision-making processes, which in turn leads to focused ad campaigns, relevant content and product and inventory decisions that make sense. As with most disciplines, more information doesn’t necessarily translate into useful knowledge, so it’s critical to have the right tool to help make that difficult jump.
Forbes magazine recently published their pick of the top priorities for implementing data analytics in the future – namely: flexibility, access, governance and context – categories that each highlight the need for effective data visualization tools in any company wanting to improve their marketplace standing. In a business landscape seemingly oversaturated with underused data sets, data visualization tools are a welcome innovation – especially for small businesses with big data ambitions.