How to Choose the Right Data Visualization Tools for Your Business
Data VisualizationModelingposted by ODSC Community November 15, 2022 ODSC Community
Depending on your business needs, you’ll prioritize specific data visualization tools over others. Most businesses favor standard pie charts and bar graphs, but others may select waterfall charts and heat maps.
Depending on your software, you’ll find that some data visualization tools create more stunning visuals while others make more informative and easy-to-understand visuals.
The issue becomes, how do you decide what data visualization tools your business needs, and how do you go about figuring out which ones will benefit your business the most? First, you should understand data visualization and why it’s crucial.
Why Is Data Visualization Important?
Today, businesses need data visualization because of how massive numbers have become. There is too much data to organize and represent with just numbers, so companies use data visualization tools to translate those numbers into something everyone can understand.
What Does Your Business Need?
It would be best to determine your business needs to choose the best data visualization tools. Most companies look for data tools to organize their data, generate reports, and make it easier to identify trends and patterns.
Some data tools focus strictly on one thing while others excel at one feature like report generating or pattern recognition. If your business needs to identify trends and patterns, you should consider data visualization tools that provide AI insights.
What Kind of Charts Does Your Business Need?
Before committing to a data visualization tool, you should identify which charts and data visuals are most important to your business and your team. Here’s a brief list of the most popular and relevant tools for data analysis and businesses.
- Pie charts
- Bar charts
- Gantt charts
- Dual axis charts
- Box-and-whisker plots
- Waterfall charts
- Line graphs
- Funnel charts
- Heat maps
Remember that only some charts provide you with the same strengths and weaknesses. For example, businesses focusing on finances benefit heavily from waterfall charts. The waterfall chart for Qlik Sense gives businesses an idea of how certain metrics change over time.
These metrics, such as revenue, ROI, project spending, and budgets, influence business decisions that would otherwise be too difficult to analyze and understand without proper visualization of the numbers and change over time.
Not all charts are equal, and not all visualization tools provide the same intuitive graph and charts. Ensure you’re looking at what extra features each data visualization tool can offer your business for the main charts and graphs you will use.
How Easy Is The Software To Use?
The best software in the world means nothing if you and your employees can’t use it. Data visualization tools range from complex to easy to understand. Most of the time, the easier data tools are the most popular.
Easy-understand data tools are favorable because it’s harder to make mistakes, and it takes less time for current and future employees to learn the software. The time you save can make a huge difference over the years of your operation.
Some businesses will need more complex functions and data visualization tools. Using a more complex tool is fine as long as you understand the inherent downsides that come along with it.
How Much Time Will It Save Your Business?
One of the most important questions you can ask yourself about a data visualization tool is how much time it will save your business. Automation has become extremely important, and most data visualization tools know that.
When creating charts, infographics, and reports, you should consider which software will save your business the most time. For example, templates for infographics and reports significantly reduce the time you spend organizing your data into something presentable.
How Well Does It Generate Reports?
Most, if not all, data visualization tools generate reports for businesses, but not all of those reports are equal. Some data visualization tools will offer more robust reporting options, and some will even automate the entire process.
For businesses that need to generate numerous reports, consider a data visualization tool that automates some of the processes for you. You don’t have to worry too much if you want more control over your reporting process.
Do You Need AI Insights?
There’s a current trend that more businesses are utilizing artificial intelligence to help get an edge on the competition. AI has limits, but it’s proven extremely useful for data analysis.
Through AI insights, businesses have made big discoveries in catching trends before they even happen. Humans can read data and trends pretty well, but an AI can go the extra mile. Businesses focusing on staying on top of trends will benefit heavily from AI insights.
Regardless, you don’t need robust AI insights to stay on top of things, but it may still be a criterion for your businesses if you truly need that competitive edge. Most of the time, the data visualization tools that provide AI insights are more expensive but well worth the asking price.
How Much Does It Cost?
There are expensive options for data visualization tools that provide you with more features at a cost. Consider the size of your business to better gauge how important some of the added features are for your business.
For example, medium and larger companies use Tableau as their main data visualization tool because of how well it scales with their business. The cost of the software is worth it because of the value they get, but for smaller companies, it may be best to choose a lower-cost visual tool.
Qlik Sense, on the other hand, is a relatively affordable data visualization tool with augmented analytics, group collaboration, and best-in-class modern analytics. You get value but give up the amazing scalability that Tableau offers.
Does Your Business Need On-Premise or Cloud-Based Software?
You should determine if your business prefers cloud-based software over on-premise or in-house data visualization tools. Some companies prefer a hybrid solution for offline scenarios or integrate their visualization tools with their on-site servers.
The advantages of cloud-based software have vastly proven to be the best alternative for most businesses. Regardless of your situation, you should heavily consider a translation to cloud-based data visualization tools.
Accessibility, utility, and needs are what you must consider when choosing the right data visualization tools for your business.
Remember, every data visualization tool has a different purpose. Every software has its strengths and weaknesses. Choosing the right one comes with finding out what your business needs and which data tools can help you solve that problem.
Article by Lukas Pan of vizlib.