The Best Data Visualization Tools

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Data offers businesses of all shapes and sizes a powerful way to improve their business. This is because when you’re making data-informed business as the person running a company or a department within a company, you can be more confident in the sorts of outcomes that you’re likely to encounter by choosing one option over another. Especially when it’s becoming more and more important to make sound decisions and exercise good judgment in the business world, being able to leverage the insights from a data source can be the difference between beating a competitor this quarter or not.

That being said, just because data is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal doesn’t mean that data alone can get the job done. If you want to be sure that other coworkers, investors, and board members fully understand what data you’re presenting to them, it’s a good idea to use data visualization tools instead of solely relying on your analytics alone. Using visuals is a great way to ensure that your data is presented in a way that is easily understandable, especially if you’re sharing information with stakeholders about historical trends or how sales this quarter compared to last quarter. Keep reading for an overview of what the best data visualization software can do for you and your business.

What is data visualization?

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Data visualization, in its simplest terms, refers to a way of using visuals or infographics in order to better understand the data source you’re looking at. In a chart like Excel, it can be hard to make heads or tails of big data. However, with interactive visualization tools, you can present your data and analytics in a much clearer way. Data visualization takes many forms, whether you’re using visuals like a pie chart, bar chart, line graph, or even a scatter plot. All of these sorts of charts have their place in data analysis, so make sure that you’re matching the right type of chart to the data you’re looking to share. If you’re presenting information about sales each month, it may be worth using a line graph; however, if you’re sharing data about how different types of clothing sold compared to each other each month, a bar chart or histogram may make more sense. Picking the right visuals to tell the story your data is mapping out is one key component of data visualization, and the right tools can make this much more simple.

What should you look for in a data visualization tool?

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Now that you know the ins and outs of data visualization, you’re probably wondering what the best data visualization tools have in common. Some of the most important features to look for in a data visualization tool are visual analytics, embedded analytics, and enterprise reporting. Visual analytics is important, since being able to look at various charts and visuals makes reading data much more straightforward and allows for deeper, more complicated analysis. Embedded analytics can be a key feature if you already use key software solutions from other vendors. If your data visualizations don’t embed with an existing dashboard you use frequently, those insights will stay siloed, which is why it’s a good idea to poll your employees about the software they most use so that you can ensure your data visualization tool integrates with their existing business intelligence tools. Additionally, the best data visualization tools offer powerful reporting features, even at the enterprise level. As you evaluate one option against another, make sure you’re weighing the pros and cons of each piece of software. The best way to fully evaluate data visualization software is to see if there’s a free plan or trial so that you can play with a set of data and see how the software integrates with your workflow.

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