Developing new ways of looking at and understanding statistical graphics in this digital age has exploded into a new competency enabled by technology.

boardroom

Analytics has taken on a new identity and new look through visualization. Techniques, tools, and roles have exploded onto the scene enabling fast ways to interpret data. We see opportunity for organizations to understand that analytics isn’t just about piecing together information FOR a boardroom, it’s about making strategic decisions IN the board room. The days of presenting dimensional pie charts are gone.

Today’s digital communication of texting and tweeting have helped build the world of the emoji. We now have a “language” that we’ve all

grown comfortable with using smiley faces as a quick way of representing and interpreting emotional responses to conversations, pictures, and everyday life. Smiley faces, frowning faces, and even the wink-y face can help you quickly interpret data such as sales numbers.

The Emoji Challenge

According to the Emoji Official Web site, “emoji is a computer language created to send lots of information in a small amount of data.” The site goes on to say that “not all phones and computers can decode them. Not only that, each one can show up differently.” Sometimes, we become so distracted by the visual façade that we may not fully understand the emotion (data) behind it or derive a benefit from the visual. Are four smiley faces good or bad?

emoji winkBusiness Intelligence and Analytics can pose the same challenge—how do you know the information as it’s represented is good or bad? Do you have a benchmark? Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between form and function, especially when it comes to visualization maps. Will the data that’s depicted be understood the same way by all viewers? There are close to a 1000 different emoji signs and they’re used differently by country, by gender, and by age group.

Understanding your audience needs for the data is as critical as knowing and understanding the data itself. Everyone involved in the data process impacts the visualization. Data scientists and analysts who can interpret the statistical information, along with the tools you choose will determine the effectiveness of the data’s message. Your teams must beemoji happy able to visualize the information in a way that can be interpreted easily. Your ‘emoji language’ of data visualization must be able to send lots of information through a small amount of data.

If you’re like most organizations, you have a large number of different sources and types of analytics that you need to coordinate and coalesce into a meaningful representation of your business. You need to communicate the same information at many levels within your organization, and sometimes to stakeholders outside of your organization.

So what is the best path to take?  Understand above all that data visualization is a language in and of itself communicating to vastly different audiences through potentially different systems.

  1. Understand and map your sources and systems providing information.
  2. Identify our audiences and how they will receive the critical information.
  3. Build a strategy that enables a dynamic, relevant and accurate visual representation of your data.
  4. Work with a partner that understands the entire life cycle of Business Intelligence and Analytics.

Mapping and extracting multiple sources of information can be accomplished by extracting the full sets of information to a staging area, from there process only the new information through change data capture protocols. Put it all into the marshalling area while you can transform, conform and adjust the information. Then load it to a cube. The result is a disciplined process that enables for real data integrity.

Data interpretation to build comprehensive reports is like building an “emoji language” for your organization. Building a strategy that identifies all of the elements of data sources, its use and ratings systems and your audiences will enable you  provide an accurate picture of the business to support the decisions IN the board room.

At SDLC, we partner with clients across industries—like retail, healthcare payer and providers, and other businesses, which gives us the ability to bring a world class view to your Data Visualization needs. We’re committed to finding the right solutions and practical approached for a successful execution. We focus on delivering a collaborative experience based on proven strategies and pragmatic plans.
We’re poised to bring our execution excellence, small, high-performing teams and real-world BI and Analytics track record to you.

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Point of View Author

Dan Warren, Director of Analytics

Dan leads the overall direction, performance, and management of the Analytics and Business Intelligence Service line.

A seasoned BI/analytics professional with over 12 years of analytics, business intelligence, and data warehousing experience, Dan has worked with Amazon, Intermec Technologies, Vertafore, and StanCorp Financial Group. He has proven expertise in every area of the industry — from directing global solution implementations across multiple countries to handling enterprise-level architecture for the cloud to building customized dashboards. Dan is certified in numerous platforms, including Microsoft, Oracle, and Hadoop solutions, as well as being versed in working with AWS and Azure cloud solutions.

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