Business analytics (or business intelligence) — brushing aside the data storage, integration and presentation techniques — is nothing more than storytelling. Business analytics is getting needed and important information into the hands of decision makers. The easier it is to ask a question, investigate the answer, and ask following questions, the more effective the process. Equally important is sharing the story across the organization. This is critical for organizational learning and continuous improvement or, on a basic level, survival in the marketplace.
So why is data visualization a hot topic? Presenting data in a format that can be easily shared and understood is a better approach than consuming the raw numbers. Visualization, or graphics, is a much more powerful communications tool than numbers or words alone:
- Graphics are memorable, so the message sticks.
- Because you don’t have to be a specialist or statistician to understand the message, visualization methods cut across the organization hierarchy to spread the knowledge.
- Consuming large volumes of data is nearly impossible without visualization methods.
- Visualization tells the story succinctly. The essence of the message is shared quickly to inform and also allows further investigation to those wanting more detail.
Consider how these trends influence the successful adoption of your business analytics solution:
- Technology – becoming more personal (smartphones, tablets, smartwatches) and pervasive (IoT connected devices)
- Organizations – self-service analytics; the decision-maker is closer to desired and required information; flatter and more autonomous reporting structures
- Demographics – the workforce is becoming accustomed to living in the digital age
- Communications – quicker bursts of information and content; greater volumes of information necessitate getting the point across quickly to capture the reader’s attention
- Information – now a blend of corporate transaction-based systems and external subscriptions and sources; if not “big data,” certainly large volumes are available
- Economics / marketplace – shorter time to react to marketplace changes; tailoring the buying experience to the customer; greater complexity, where even “local” businesses operate within the realm of the global economy or at least the internet-accessible economy
Given today’s business environment and the trends moving us forward, visualization methods are critical to interpreting data and communicating information. When we can easily turn data into useful information, data becomes actionable.
Today’s business analytics technologies make delivering analytics easier by incorporating visualization methods. Many tools go beyond the basic line, bar, or pie charts to offer heat maps, scatter charts with trend lines, and geospatial analysis. These advanced analytics tools enable information consumers to enhance their analytics while interactively exploring the data with visual representation.
Creating meaningful data visualization should be simple and easy. You and your users should be able to drag and drop data to quickly add or remove content, explore it dynamically, and easily set filters and prompts — reducing the time and effort needed to uncover the value in your data. Then, what's the clearest way to present your data visually? And will that change when you combine new data? Your solution should automatically suggest the best visualization as well as provide a rich self-service gallery with dozens of dynamic visuals.
We're talking about Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service. With BICS, business users enjoy the same flexible ad-hoc analysis you might previously have done in spreadsheets, but with the help of more powerful analytics and visualization. It's built for today's business environment, where users are faced with overwhelming amounts and data and shorter decision cycle times. Now you can rely less on IT and take BI into your own hands.
With an experienced implementation partner, a BICS deployment takes only 6–8 weeks. Download the BICS Services Guide to see what's included in an implementation, from custom dashboards and reports to advanced visualization training.