Visualizing Data: 3 Reasons Why Seeing Is Believing

Posted by Megan R on 3/24/16 2:12 PM, Last updated 04/29/2017
Megan R
visual display of data miningMany clients come to us without a clear picture of 1) what to do with their data or 2) how to get it organized enough to extract information which will then guide business decisions. I recently attended a Tableau User Group meeting hosted at CMU where the theme was, "Data Discovery and Predictive Analytics." I was happy that speaker (and 2014 Tableau “Zen Master”), Dan Murray, spent much more time on the former than the latter. Why? Predictive analytics is extremely en vogue! Because deeply understanding your data first is paramount to unlocking its insights and turning them into action. So when we work with a client to do a “deep dive” of their data, I’m right there with Dan Murray in first emphasizing discovery, variety, and visualization over their flashier counterparts: prediction, big data, and analytics. visualizing dataHere are three big takeaways from Dan’s talk that really solidified my conviction that proper data cleansing and visuals—while not hugely glamorous—can take you a long way to answering those burning questions you have about your business:
  1. Predictive models are only as good as the historical data supporting them. Same goes for “big data”! What good is a boatload of big data if it’s not multi-faceted? A bland single source can’t bring new light and nuance to your existing data the way carefully curated “small data” can, no matter how “big” it is.
  2. Visualization of data as a process of discovery invites a world of informed questions which were not possible before. Once I visualize some data, I can then gather my team and discuss a strategy for next steps and what further questions we want to answer. At this point, we may be ready for heavier duty analytics–but not before!
  3. A solid, readily interpretable visual is much more effective in conveying a story than a paragraph of text describing a statistical model. My training is in linguistics, and I will just point out that you did not need to learn how to understand the world through vision, but you did spend painstaking years learning how to speak a language and you spent even longer learning to read! Comprehending a simple “viz” just comes naturally! It’s a common language we share as humans.
So let us discover what insights lie waiting to be unlocked in your data. We have expertise in data wrangling, visualization, and storytelling to bring order and sense to the information you have about your business and your customers.

 

 

 

 

image: © Mpavlov

 

 

 

Topics: Market Research

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