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How should companies visualize their data?

Richard Jones Archive

Companies are adept in many ways when it comes to working with data. They know how to collect large volumes of information, store it and process it to improve their business intelligence. They're also getting better in terms of ensuring data quality. One area where there's still room for improvement is data visualization. If a business has a large cluster of data and needs to display it effectively, what's the best way to go? Still little is known about this subject.

Information Management recently highlighted this issue, taking excerpts from "Data Points: Visualization That Means Something," the book from expert statistician Nathan Yau. Yau argued that the definition of "visualization" is constantly changing based on varying contextual factors and people's subjective opinions.

"As you come across rules and design suggestions for how to present data, be sure to know their context," Yau wrote. "With visualization, draw from previous work and keep guidelines in mind, but don't let it keep you from what works best to achieve your goal and to communicate to your audience."

According to RSA, figuring out visualization is the next step in the big data movement. We have plenty of information today, and we know how to use it effectively, but it's difficult to make concrete plans when we can't see the information at our fingertips clearly.

Primitive models for graphing data, such as pie charts and bar graphs, are one step in the right direction, and even the most basic spreadsheet software can handle those. But better visualization tools are needed for more advanced operations.

Gartner recently stated that trouble with organizing and visualizing data is postponing the growth of the big data movement. For the sake of the business world, this problem must be addressed in the years ahead.