The True Value of Data Visualization

The power of data visualization to highlight trends, patterns, correlations, causes, and facilitate the achievement of a variety of business targets by equipping decision-makers with insights is amply recognized. 

Let’s now look at the true value of data visualization by examining business outcomes that have been positively impacted by the availability of visual data. Specifically, let’s look at the value of data visualization for decisions across different organizational functions — marketing, sales, production, customer service, operations, IT and HR.

  1. Evaluating the effectiveness of various marketing campaigns and channels

    A marketing team uses many different channels such as organic search, PPC, email and social media. It’s important for marketing managers to know how each of these channels is performing. The ROI of the investment made in each channel is also required in order to focus efforts on the ones that are getting the best returns.

    The challenge is that data from all these disparate sources needs to be compared and studied. There are other variables that need to be considered as well, such as campaign creatives, execution agency, season, month and so on.

    Data visualization proves extremely valuable to help understand this data and make the right marketing decisions. A single dashboard can display the views, traffic, engagement and leads from different digital marketing channels. Managers can use interactive options to view the data for different time ranges or drill down to more details. A single dashboard can incorporate data from multiple sources such as email systems, social media, and PPC accounts, and costs and results can be compared across all. Depending on the business, this data can be seen by different campaigns, products, or regions.

    The true value of such a data visualization is that the marketing department can invest focus and budgets on those campaigns and channels that are fetching the best returns and weed out those that are not performing.

  2. Knowing the health of the sales pipeline 

    Sales managers usually review operations by viewing visual data in the form of a sales funnel.  This displays the number of leads in each stage of the sales cycle. The stages may include inquiry,  information gathering, commercial discussions, negotiation, and deal closure. The number of deals that are at each stage can be viewed against targets. A dollar value can be assigned to the potential deal size, as well as a probability of closure. The sales pipeline can be viewed by salesperson, dealer, outlet, region, etc.  A sales dashboard that displays this data helps to understand the health of the entire sales operation. Personalized dashboards can be created for different stakeholders such as senior management, sales managers, salespersons, logistics, manufacturing, and others.

    The true value of a dashboard that shows the health of the sales pipeline is that managers can know whether sales are on track to achieve targets,  and if deals are stuck, they can investigate the causes. Production can get prepared for the pipeline of orders expected. The sales strategy can also be refined based on insights from the data visualization.

  3. Enabling service companies to provide visibility to clients about the status of their projects

    There are many companies that are in the business of executing client projects in areas such as engineering and construction,  software development, advertising and marketing, and HR management. These service companies need to provide regular reports that give their clients visibility into the status of project execution. The effective use of data visualization enables the creation of customized dashboards and visual reports to help clients know the health of their projects in the most convenient manner possible.  Data visualizations can be created to display the status of tasks against targets, defects or bugs and corrective action, as well as many other types of analysis.

    The true value of data visualization for client reporting is enhanced collaboration,  better control on project execution, higher client satisfaction and lower administrative burden for report generation.

  4. Optimizing production and improving quality in manufacturing 

    Achieving optimum production volumes while also ensuring product quality is vitally important on the production shop floor. Both production volume and quality are affected by a number of parameters. These parameters may be captured by manual data recording or automatically by IoT sensors. As more production machinery is connected with IoT sensors, a vast amount of data is being generated at every moment. It is a mammoth task to view and analyze these large volumes of data and understand the factors that are impacting production.  Data visualization plays an important role here, collecting a variety of data from many different types of equipment, and presenting it in a manner that aids understanding.

    The true value of data visualization in production is the ability to see patterns and identify correlations between raw material and process parameters with outputs. Production managers can view trends and identify discrepancies easily. Interactive data visualizations enable production managers to see how different production parameters affect volumes and quality of production. With these insights, it is possible to manage raw material and manufacturing processes so as to achieve optimum volumes and high quality. 

  5. Optimizing data storage infrastructure 

    An organization today is likely to consume a variety of data storage infrastructure, both on-premise as well as cloud.  Managing this data storage infrastructure effectively requires technical monitoring and cost optimization. When data storage is spread across different data centers and public cloud providers,  it becomes challenging to get the necessary visibility for effective management.

    Data visualization tools enable administrators to ensure optimal consumption and utilization of storage resources by providing granular visibility into the usage of storage resources. Administrators can see storage capacity requirements of different divisions, locations, etc.,  and how they change over time. The cost of different storage options can be compared easily, and you can also view whether available storage is being utilized fully. The true value of data visualization for storage infrastructure is enhancing the ROI of storage investments and reducing resource costs. 

  6. Enhancing customer service

    Customers who need services at the time of making a purchase or post-sale may choose any of the available channels to reach out to sellers, including phone, email, social media, live chat or apps.

    While individual customer support executives respond to these queries,  an understanding of the patterns in queries and conversations can help the organization to gain better insights into customer needs.  Data visualization is valuable to understand and analyze customer service requests.

    You can develop a dashboard that integrates customer service requests from all channels.  You can view trends in response times and see this information by channel, product line, support executive and so on.  Data visualization can also help managers see the queries grouped into categories and the response levels for each. The true value of data visualization for customer service is that it enables the business to extend the kind of support that is needed, identifies areas for improvement, enhances customer satisfaction,  and reduces the cost of support. 

  7. Increasing the probability of success in recruitment

    Getting recruitment right is so important for the success of the business; wrong decisions prove to be very costly. When recruiting managers scan resumes, they are unaware whether they are really judging objectively or if biases are creeping in unknowingly. There is no easy way for them to view the data of previous hires and judge whether candidates being considered today have a high chance of being successful or not.

    Data visualization makes recruitment much more effective by extracting trends based on data of previously recruited individuals and helping managers make better hiring decisions. Visualizations can be built to view data about previous hires based on educational qualifications,  years of experience, skills, duration of time spent in employment with the company, job satisfaction, and performance. Data about a candidate under consideration can be viewed in conjunction with past data to better predict whether this candidate would be a good fit for the position.

    The true value of data visualization for recruitment is uncovering insights about the recruitment process, identifying the factors that make a candidate a good fit, increasing the success ratio of recruitment, and reducing the time to fill positions.

The seven use cases discussed above are examples that demonstrate the real business impact of data visualizations for different organizational functions. You can identify business processes in your organization that would benefit from interactive visual data and discover the value of data visualizations yourself by developing them to solve real business challenges.

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