Two women discussing large screens

Why is big data visualisation so important?

Written on December 16, 2019 by Jonathon Webley

A few years ago, the term Big Data Visualisation didn’t really exist, companies used a plethora of excel spreadsheets with various charts and graphs, often delivering standard, but not always structured or engaging management information. The evolution of Business Intelligence (BI) as a principle and the early BI tools provided a deeper insight into an organisations data.

​Data sets have undoubtedly grown rapidly over recent years. Businesses now have, and can leverage, more data sources than ever before so there is more data that can be analysed to provide insight into historical activity as well as predictions for things like customer behaviour. A Pie chart in excel just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore.

​It’s vitally important for companies to engage in data exploration and then use visual techniques to communicate to non-technical users on the importance of data as well as the results of data analysis. This means organisations are becoming data-driven, with data directly impacting business decision making and, in some cases, driving it entirely. Data Analysts do a lot of data discovery to identify and include all the data sources available that would be useful for data analysis, and this is vital so big data visualisation can tell the full story.​

Telling the story

There are a lot of visual techniques that Data Analysts and Data Visualisation specialists now utilise, things like heat maps can represent volume sales of a product in specific geographical location, it can also be used to analyse the areas users click on webpages for example. Time Series visuals display the changing trends mapped over whatever period of time you’d like to analyse, and tools like ElasticSearch allow users themselves to change the parameters to analyse exact time periods via a simple search query.​

Whatever visual is used, charts and graphs, bar charts, heat maps or others, there is a huge emphasis in the industry at the moment on data literacy. So, it’s vital to communicate the findings properly, in a language the business understands with data that is relevant to their decision making. Things like images, videos and text are being used to spruce up the once dull MI report pack. Also, linking with external data sources, keeping up to date real-time dashboards etc. are valuable techniques to explain and display to business leaders.

There are a vast amount of data visualisation tools on the market, from web-based tools like google charts to more enterprise-scale tools like Qlik, Thoughtspot, Tableau and PowerBI. All of which are being used by the data viz community to tell data-driven stories to the business, so they then make data-driven business decisions.

So, why?

Big Data Visualisation is critical in today’s business, big data solutions process data in some cases in real-time and therefore, what the end-user sees and uses must be relevant and fit for purpose. This is where data governance and data quality come in; they allow data to travel around the organisation and be used for different things like data analysis without becoming broken, lost or disrupted. This gives the business trust that data, when it has strong data quality and governance place, is producing accurate data-driven decisions by them as senior leaders within the company.

Moreover, big data visualisation is critical to maximising efficiencies, profits and enhancing customer acquisition, retention, journey and engagement this is because the business can use its own data, external data and other data sources to produce some quite amazing data analyses and predictions. The data analysis is presented in a way that is understandable, consumable and interesting via data visualisation and not just another boring pie chart or bar charts stuffed into an excel spreadsheet or report pack.

Therefore, businesses are more engaged with data, start to become data-driven and moreover understand concepts not previously known to them through data literacy. Data visualisation allows the business to understand itself, competitors, and improve in nearly every way.

If you are looking for a data visualisation job, then please talk to the specialist team at Agile Recruit. We have offices in both Manchester and Milton Keynes.