Challenges to Understanding Your Analytics
A successful data journey is made up of three key steps: 1) finding the right data to bring you the most value (see our Data Ingestion blog); 2) cleaning, curating, and modelling the data into something that is usable (see our Data Transformation blog); and finally 3) presenting the data results in a way that is easy to understand. This is the science of Data Visualization, and the subject of this third, and final blog of our HeroPath Journey series.
Throughout these blogs, we have discussed the mechanics and benefits of data ingestion and data transformation, which focus on pulling in and modelling valuable data so that it can provide meaningful answers to your most pressing business questions. Data Visualization (or, data viz) is about ensuring those answers are provided as clearly and concisely as possible. This process allows you to actually see what is happening, helping your data come to life.
Traditional processes of data analysis require manually reading and dissecting large reports of seemingly endless numbers, looking for correlations that will reveal valuable insights. This is a time-consuming process, prone to human error and reliant on some degree of expertise. This can be problematic, especially for organizations that do not employ a team of data analysts, or for analysts who are looking to be more efficient with their time. Moreover, legacy, on-premises systems can slow this process down further. For example, automated jobs often take so long to run that they work overnight. By morning, jobs may be found incomplete, the system having encountered a detrimental error overnight, while no one was present to fix it. Hence, there is no analytics report to review.
Whether the issue is a lack of expertise, a shortage of time, or slow systems, the end result is inefficiency and an inability to truly make the most of your data analytics. Ultimately, the analytics are simply not helpful if you don’t understand them. The purpose of data viz is to turn analytics into insights at a glance — accessible, interactive, and engaging.
Why wait to see your data when you can help it come to life today?
How Data Viz Can Help
Data visualization is the visual representation of information through the use of graphics, such as images and charts, to definitively point out clear connections between cause and effect. It leverages the human brain’s ability to process visual information faster than textual and numerical information, making complex data far more accessible. Ultimately, visualization lets the data tell you its story in a way that is easy for you to understand.
Consider a very basic example: data in a table versus data in a graph.
With the table format, a user would have to find the highest and lowest values and compare the numbers to get a sense of the range. By contrast, a graph makes the range immediately clear, while offering an overview of patterns over time.
When it comes to visualizing information, context is key. Understanding how the data will be used should drive the design of the visualization. The goal of the design is always to ensure intuitive usability; the more thoughtful the design, the more usable the visualization, and the more meaningful the interaction. By combining data viz best practices with the use of modern best-in-class tools, such as PowerBI, Lixar is able to deliver slick, usable data viz dashboards that are tailored to an organization’s specific needs.
Data viz provides you with the most efficient way to:
- View historical data to gain hindsight about previous operations and outcomes
- View real-time data to gain insight into your current situation
- Use this knowledge to gain foresight, so you can model and predict future outcomes
- Make decisions that can be backed up by reliable data
The truly groundbreaking thing about data viz, when driven by our HeroPath solution, is the sheer volume of insights it can produce in such a quick period of time. With the right foundation in place, the possibilities open up like never before. Below, we’ll have a look at a use case in which our data viz solution provided one company with insights they had never been able to access before.
When the pharmaceutical research company, Nutrasource, realized that they needed a way to capture and interpret real-world data, they knew it would require a revolutionary solution. As a company that helps health brands bring products to market, their research fell short on understanding people’s experiences with certain ingredients. Sifting through the thousands of published articles and studies would not only take an immeasurable amount of time, it would also remain lacking in the nitty gritty details of people’s overall sentiments. Nutrasource knew, though, that this information was out there — it wasn’t only in the published literature, but was also tucked away in news feeds and social media posts. What Nutrasource wanted was a way to find, capture, and analyze this data with speed and efficiency, and Lixar’s HeroPath platform offered an AI-driven, data viz solution.Over the course of six months, we leveraged our Azure, AI, and data viz expertise to build an interactive, immersive dashboard that Nutrasource now uses to easily summarize key metrics of all incoming data sources. The solution quickly converts raw data from across the web into actionable intelligence, and uses machine learning to find patterns in the content, going beyond simple facts to better understand the actual sentiments being expressed. We then employ PowerBI to present the analysis in an intuitive and easy-to-understand format.Our data viz dashboard enables Nutrasource to be more efficient with their research. By quantifying consumer sentiment for both individual and mixes of certain ingredients, the company can make better and faster decisions about which products to bring to market. “You’re not just capturing the facts, you’re capturing the reactions. There’s a lot of new insight that people see, and it can validate some of the findings R&D may have suspected,” explains Chris Burkhart, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Nutrasource. He adds, “Prior to putting together the Azure solution, there was no real way to validate customer sentiment using traditional IT. We’re now able to easily and quickly scrape, analyze, and interpret all that real-world data.”
Getting Started with HeroPath
HeroPath is a fully managed, modern data platform. It is a cloud-based solution with scalability and flexibility for today and tomorrow, which allows you to optimize every step of your data journey, fueled by best-in-class Microsoft components, that can be customized to meet your specific business needs. Our unique approach ensures that we understand your goals and help you achieve them by: 1) ingesting the right data; 2) transforming it using the right components, and 3) allowing you to engage with it through interactive visualizations.
Our Data Viz experts use top of the line tools, such as PowerBI, to visualize results on interactive, easy-to-navigate dashboards. The visualizations can be integrated with new or existing applications, and displayed on a variety of devices and machines, such as televisions, websites, and mobile apps. By leveraging the Azure cloud, you get the added benefit of sharing in real time, across multiple geo-locations. With a HeroPath solution, data that would otherwise take much longer to be received and analyzed is instantly fully accessible, at your fingertips. The visualizations are also adaptive, and access can be governed by role and/or permissions to ensure your data remains secure, even within your organization.
We understand that different users may have different objectives when viewing a dashboard, and we ensure that all of your needs are met. From high-level stakeholders looking to track key performance indicators, to analysts looking for rich data filtering and drill-down capabilities, to forward-thinking decision-makers looking to perform “what-if” analysis by leveraging advanced machine-learning capabilities to run theoretical scenarios and present the predicted outcomes. Whatever the goal, Lixar can help you achieve it.