We have all heard that sage advice since as far back as we can remember, "all that glitters is not gold." This rings true in data visualizations in Power BI. As part of our ongoing Power BI blogs, we are here to help you transform your business data into an engine that drives insights. Check out our full Resource Library for more.
The purpose of data visualization is to simplify, messy, and overwhelming data to solve a business problem. Enable decision makers to make insightful, data-driven decisions. To understand what great data visualization is, a good place to start is find out what it is not.
Great data visualization is great storytelling.
Great visualization is not aimless. Having a clear knowledge of your business' story—past, present, and future—is a valuable asset. Being able to identify and analyze specific stories within your business is what great visualizations are all about.
Effective data visualizations are a blend of art and science; communicating stories utilizing compelling and revelatory graphical objects. Data represented in graphical form can communicate complex, sparse, or difficult to correlate data in an easy-to-approach, understandable fashion, drawing users into the story emotionally and intellectually. Great visualizations transform raw data into clear, actionable information.
It is quite easy to lose the compelling business story behind a beautiful but confusing visualization.
In the visualization creation pendulum, more often than not, swings to the extremes. Either the emphasis is placed upon the beautification of the data at the expense of clarity or to the other pole position, too much raw data to be useful to the consumer. The business truths remain obscured in a complex visual, poorly enriched and steeped in ambiguity. The first is beautiful but provides no real value to the business and wastes users' time. The second is difficult to consume or act upon in any meaningful way by users and is therefore also ultimately discarded by them. Both are the dangerous pitfalls of data visualization.
Effective visualization of your business data provides quick information with minimal effort.
Business Intelligence, not tools, can survey complex and detailed business data in all its various forms and quickly organize the data into understandable and flexible patterns. These can then be represented with meaningful visualizations which reveal business stories quickly and powerfully. This efficient provision of the business story enhances business processes and informs strategic decisions.
Well-ordered and organized business data properly visualized fuels business.
Like a bright cup of coffee in the morning, clean data breeds business. By providing a means for a business to identify inefficiencies, new opportunities or potential weaknesses reliably and quickly, data well visualized can inform the business so it can be more accurate and faster to respond.
"If you just want pretty pictures, go Google 'data visualization.'"
However, if you're after the nugget of gold—a bottom line reward—the very purpose of data visualization—then an investment in sound data visualization practices will always reward.
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