What are the benefits of Data Visualization?
What are the benefits of data visualization? Find out in this post some data about it and the 5 major benefits!
Any business today depends on data for its survival and growth. But in order to be useful, this information must first be readable, in a way that serves the objectives of the business. And this is where Data Visualization comes in!
What are the benefits of Data Visualization?
1) Ease of reading.
2) Depth of analysis: for being able to manage several “layers” of information in a synthetic way.
3) Speed of understanding: incomparable to the slowness of text-only analysis.
4) The ability to identify recurring patterns and trends.
5) Improved decision making processes.
Data visualization: some data
In this post we will talked about what are the benefits of Data Visualization but before that, we will talk about some data. It has been calculated that worldwide, the total amount of data produced online is about 44 zettabytes. That’s 44 trillion bytes. And this calculation dates back to the early 2020s. According to the most reliable estimates, this figure could grow dramatically by the end of 2025 and reach 175 zettabytes. So: 175 trillion bytes.
The number of devices and active network users around the world will increase, and the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution will provide a big boost. By 2025, there will be over 75 billion networked “objects”. (source: seedscientific.com). The figures are enough to make your head spin. It is practically impossible for a human brain to grasp the full extent. But one thing is certain: if we stop to think about the enormity of it, we can understand why so often, we hear that Big Data is the “oil of the digital age”.
With one decisive difference: Big Data is not a scarce resource, to be found underground with complex and expensive techniques; but a source that is renewed and expanded every second, thanks to the contribution of billions of people and objects connected in every corner of the planet. This vastness and richness, of course, has its downside. And that’s what we want to focus on.
In fact, any type of business needs data for its survival and growth. But to be useful, data must first of all be mappable, readable, analyzable. Finally, it must be interpretable in a way that is functional to its business and its objectives.
Sure, there are increasingly refined and advanced Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning systems that can (and should) do the bulk of the work for us. But there always comes a point when there is a need to be able to visualize this data, in the broadest and most concise way possible; in a way that is simple and intuitive, but not coarse.
And let’s ask ourselves: where does this need come from?
First of all, it’s about being able to make strategic choices – big or small – in a wise way: machines and algorithms can help, we said; but the final decision and the ultimate responsibility is always of one or more people. But that’s not all: data visualization can be invaluable for making a company’s employees engaged and aware of goals, results, what’s working, and what’s not. And the same can be true for stakeholders of any type or level. For financiers.
But also – last but not least – for customers themselves, both B2B and B2C: from the performance of a product to the transparency of operations relating to the functioning and health of a company or an entire production sector. And these are just a few examples.
As you can understand, we’re talking about a very important field of action, one that has different and delicate implications that we must pay attention to. In this post, we’ll start with some basic definitions and then move on to answer the question: what are the benefits of Data Visualization?
To provide you with concrete answers, we have isolated the 5 benefits that we see as the most important and decisive.
Data Visualization – a first definition
So, let’s get to the first question: what is Data Visualization?
It’s the presentation of raw data in graphical form: a form that helps you to read this information and to make it understandable without excessive time and effort. And therefore, ultimately, to make this data meaningful.
In short, it’s a matter of putting things in order. Because this order is the first step that leads first to maximum awareness (shared as much as possible), and finally, therefore, to making it operational.
This is not the place to discuss the different graphic forms through which Data Visualization can be developed. These are mainly technical issues that depend on the objectives: a graphic presentation aimed at the company, for example, is very different from one aimed at financiers, or another aimed at the end client. And each sector has its own customs and best practices.
But we want to make a note here: without a doubt, the most effective Data Visualization method is the one that deals with video. And we’ll dedicate one of our next posts to this where we’ll talk about the power of “Data telling” and the personalized videos made available by platforms like Babelee.
Now let’s come to the question that lies at the heart of this post: what are the benefits of Data Visualization? As anticipated, we will answer with the 5 main benefits.
1. Easy to read
We’ve touched on this point several times, but it bears repeating and focusing on: a graphic visualization is always easier to understand than a textual report or an oral narrative.
Pay attention, however, to two points:
- The first: graphic visualization can and, in many cases, can be accompanied by in-depth textual or personal interventions (both in person and remote).
- The second point, which is even more decisive, is that to be effective, a graphic visualization must be designed around your objectives. To make a long story short: it all depends on what you want to bring out. For example, if you’re interested in the part of your audience based on age groups, age is an essential criteria. But differences based on geography could also emerge in the same chart.
In short: it’s about setting the right hierarchy between parameters and metrics.
2. Depth of analysis
Let’s connect directly to the example we used in the previous point: through an effective and orderly visualization of data, we don’t just obtain an easy understanding, but we manage to go deeper, to obtain a profound stratification of information (especially in the case of personal and geographical information, but it’s only a very basic example). Something that, in a purely textual format would require many pages, and that, in any case, could never be so simultaneous and “vertical”.
Warning: the best Data Visualization, moreover, is never too static. For example, it’s possible to change the hierarchical scale of the parameters in one click. So, again, great depth combined with ease of understanding.
3. Speed of understanding
So far, we’ve talked about ease and depth of understanding. But in order to answer the question about what are the benefits of Data Visualization, we must consider speed.
Our brain is able to process information coming from graphs and images in a much faster way than texts or oral speeches. We take this for granted: it is a common and daily experience for all of us. But there’s another decisive aspect: speed is increasingly important in the fast-paced world we live in. And if you want to convince a client, a stakeholder or a potential lender, you have to take into account that today’s attention spans are increasingly narrow.
4. The ability to identify patterns and trends
Data is only useful when it is readable, as we have already said. But let’s get to the heart of this “readability”. When interpreting information, a decisive aspect is the identification of patterns that tend to repeat themselves, of trends that are correlated to clearly identifiable variables.
The emergence of these recurrences is the starting point for any decision making process: to reinforce virtuous trends, to reverse toxic trends, and to build, more generally, data-driven strategies, ranging from optimization to predictive marketing. Again, the emergence of these trends is captured more quickly and clearly with a graphical representation.
Also: thanks to Data Visualization you can easily isolate errors in data entry, because they often stand out clearly outside the usual curves or sets. Be careful, however, not to confuse these errors with anomalies, which can occur and – in some cases – can also be interesting.
5. Improve decision making processes
Here we are at the last point which, if you think about it, is a direct consequence of all the previous ones. Thanks to Data Visualization, in fact, information can be read more easily, more deeply, and more quickly. Moreover, trends emerge with more force and clarity.
Well: this detailed yet concise picture is the perfect basis for making decisions based on facts and evidence. These always turn out to be the most solid and sensible decisions, because they exclude false hopes, illusions, biases, and prejudices of any kind.
We’d like to close this post by bringing out a very concrete and summarizing fact, which emerged from a research conducted by the Wharton School of Business: by using Data Visualization systems, business meetings reduce their duration, on average, by 24%.
Faster, less time wasted, better decisions – all thanks to Data Visualization.
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