According to a survey by Salesforce, 53% employees say that for organizing related data for visualizing, it needs manual effort. A good visualization tool can take care of that.
You can display data in large spreadsheets to present it to the stakeholders in whatever manner that you wish. However, unless you can visualize in the simple yet effective manner via these Visualization tools, that data is just a series of numbers. For data analytics strategy, high quality visualization tools are a key component. Data visualization tools are a bunch of tools that crunches the numbers by applying statistical formulas at the backend to display simple yet beautiful and effective reports and dashboards. The aim of these graphs and visuals is not only to explore the data, but also to solve the problems that organizations face. Pie charts, graphs, heat maps, histograms and radar/spider charts are just a few of the many creative ways to present data concisely and highlight highlights and trends. Check out this interesting taxonomy from Duke University to see all the various forms of data visualization formats available today to get an idea of how creative you can get with your data visualization.
So, to make your data analytics useful and insightful, you need a right data visualization tool. There are many tools that are available in the market. These plethora of choices makes any data science professional confused as he is unable to choose the right one for his company.
So, when it comes to the right visualization tools for your business, there are a few basic qualities they must possess. Here are the most notable features you should look for:
- Clear, concise, and customizable dashboard
The Dashboard is regarded as the face of all the hours of sweat and challenging work you do for preparing your data to model it in a presentable form. You can relate the dashboard of your Visualization tool with the one of your cars which contains all the relevant panels for not only accessing the various parts of your vehicle, but also for ensuring the proper operation as well.
A good data visualization dashboard should be a few things simultaneously. For starters, it should look great. It needs to be clear, with pops of color amid adequate whitespaces. Too white is boring and too much color is overwhelming. The dashboard should strike a balance.
However, simply good looks are not enough, said no one ever. Keeping in mind the real aim of developing a dashboard is to summarize all the data that matters. The top KPI’s you are trying to track, the vital trends you are monitoring or any other dataset that is pivotal to your business should be clearly visualized on the dashboard in a way that you have the general overview within a few seconds of launching the dashboard. Facts presented on the dashboard should be clear and decipherable in a glance.
Another good quality that your dashboard should have is customizability. At any given time, your company can take several datasets that related to the problem at hand. You should have the power to customize which datasets should be visible at what period, obviously for helping the stakeholders in exploring the dataset and making relevant decisions.
The ability to integrate your data reports in different applications is also a key feature that one should consider which choosing a data Viz tool. For your teams to work efficiently, collaborate better and share across different platforms, the data visualization software must have the feature to allow using the various media like graphs and charts into different applications. The quality and richness of the visual reports should not diminish when transporting it onto a different application They should remain interactive and allow further investigation of the data.
- Interactive Reports
While creating a dashboard, Data Analysts should leverage their skills in creating interactive reports and dashboard for the decision makers. Interactive data visualization helps identify trends and tell a story through data. So how does the predictive trend change when you tweak just one variable? You should be able to move, sort, filter and move variables until you find the answers you are looking for.
Keeping in view of that, you should keep in mind that your data viz tool should be interactive in nature. The tool should enable you to change measures for uncovering different trends that were not possible before.
- Data Collection and Sharing
There was a time, a very finite amount of data was stored in databases of all organization of the world. However, after the high-speed internet have reached every household in the world, it is quite normal for us to witness terabytes of data in databases of those same company as well. Sometimes, data can be taken from just one source while sometimes it needs to be collected from diverse sources and visualized by the tool. While most data visualization tools will collect data from multiple sources and display it on the same dashboard, there are some that may not have this capability. So, it is important to choose a visualization tool which supports importing data from multiple sources and technologies.
- Geotagging and Location Intelligence
If you are in a business where geotagging is critical, you may need to study the support that visualization tool gives in report building. The ability of the tool for recognizing location / spatial data is important for business which compares the location data, and it is associates measures to their defined KPIs.
- Data Mining
Data Mining is a process of extracting patterns out of the data that you have imported. If you are in a business that requires you to execute the process of data mining, then selecting a reliable Data Viz tool which has the capability of data mining is critical.
- Artificial Intelligence Integration
Many visualization tools off late have been getting smarter with their use of artificial intelligence to analyze, explore and predict trends to go as far as suggest future actions based on past trends. If that is something that appeals to you, that is another feature you could look for.
Here is the list of the preferred Data Visualization tools available today that stacks up with those qualities defined above and may help with deciding the right one for you.
Tableau has for a long time now, hailed as one of the best Data Visualization tool in the world right now. It is clientele, who is increasing day by day, includes giants like LinkedIn, Deloitte, Lufthansa, and PepsiCo.
Some of the features that Tableau puts on the table are:
- Customizable dashboards that is embeddable with applications like Salesforce, SharePoint, and Jive etc.
- Real-time interactive dashboards for filter on demand and click to dig deeper.
- Plenty of data connections with live and in-memory data
- Secure collaboration
- Mobile optimized
QlikView is probably the strongest competitor of Tableau. It boasts clients like Conde Nast, Subaru, and Global retail Bank.
Some of its features are:
- Customizable Dashboard
- Predictive Analysis
- Shared file management
- Embedded Analytics
- Advanced Analytics Integration with third party engines like Python
This is like a traditional tool. It can handle several types and sources of data and some of the important giants which uses this tool are NASA, NASDAQ, Comcast, and Samsung.
Top features include:
- Fast implementation
- Advanced machine learning and AI
- Instant insights
- automatic scheduled reporting
- Customizable dashboard
- In-memory columnar database can crunch terabytes of data on a single server
- Microsoft Power BI
Although a bit late in the race of developing a Data Visualization tool, it offers Power BI which makes it easy for new entrants to adopt and explore. To add to this ease of adoption, Power BI offers a free basic version and is open source. With clients like Adobe, HP, and Toshiba, it offers features like:
- Interactive dashboard
- Customized reports
- Easy data capture and sharing with Datasets.
- Explore data by asking questions in natural language.
With over five hundred data sources, Klipfolio is a great choice when you must tackle enormous data coming from different sources.
Top features include:
- Data Sourcing
- Financial Reporting
- Customizable Dashboard
- Accuracy which is real-time
Domo is not just a Viz tool, in fact, it is a complete business management platform which handles your analytics and reporting from just one platform.
Its features include:
- Numerous data connectors like Facebook, Salesforce etc.
- Easily cleans, combines, and wrangles data in multiple ways.
- Workbench functionality
- Easy sharing of reports and dashboards
Plotly helps create interactive graphs for easy comprehension. Some of its top features are:
- 2D and 3D charts
- Integration with multiple programming languages
- User friendly
It is a BI and data visualization tool for all type of business.
Some features include:
- Comparative analytics
- Easy set-up
- Multiple chart formats
Geckoboard make data visualization easy for anyone. Some of its best features are:
- Customizable dashboard with several widgets
- Pull and push data integrations
Datawrapper simple, clear, and easy to use tool which is quickly becoming first choice for professional with no or little technical background.
Some features include.
- Fast and interactive charts
- Customization options
- Easy to use with no coding required.
Choosing the right Data Visualization tool has always been tricky for the professional’s world over because it is not only expensive, but every tool out there in the market carries some nifty features which are distinguishable to others. So, always choose a tool which fulfills your requirements fittingly.