That’s where data visualisation and dashboarding come in.

Used alongside a data platform, these tools can help you get more from your business information and push your broader data goals forward. It’s about having a clear, comprehensive view of your day-to-day performance, so you can make decisions that align with your strategic plans.

Data visualisation: the basics

At its most elemental, data visualisation involves presenting information that you can see. There’s no one format — even a basic bar graph is a form of visualisation. But modern visualisation platforms offer far more sophisticated options. Using data pulled from a range of sources across your business, these platforms can present incredibly complex information in a clear, comprehensible way.

Visualisation can be used as part of your reporting to help make business decisions, or to present information to stakeholders in a compelling format.

Most businesses have a good take on their financial standing — and other key numbers — in a broad sense. But many don’t have the knowledge or tools to drill down into those numbers and deepen their understanding.

The right visualisation platform helps you filter out the noise and get to the heart of your data.

More importantly, it can do this very quickly, so you always have the information you need to make quick, strategic decisions.

Understanding dashboarding

Much like a car’s dashboard gives you an at-a-glance view of performance, a data dashboard is a quick visual rundown of key performance indicators for your organisation. Daily sales, orders, staffing levels, invoices — the details depend on what your business does.

You can build a dashboard for your whole business or create multiple dashboards for different teams within your organisation. Data flows from your data platform and goes through a validation process to ensure its accuracy.

When your dashboard is live, you can use it as a daily temperature check for business performance, adjusting business decisions as you go.

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Accuracy is everything

Visualisation and dashboarding rely on a continual stream of data that needs to be ultra-accurate and up to date. Using data that’s not up to scratch to make business decisions can be actively harmful, and makes people lose trust in your data tools.

In the long run, it’s a huge waste of the resources and time invested in data solutions.

Working with the right data platform — and getting help from data experts — ensures that you’re always working from accurate data.

Data visualisation agencies use rigorous testing and validation techniques to ensure that all data coming through your platform is collected and classified correctly. Depending on the volume of data being collected and the number of sources involved, this can be a complex task.

Validation also comes in during the visualisation process. When visual reports are built, filtering and slicing the numbers need to be accurate.

That means checking that the numbers in your visual tools and outside data sources line up, and that the correct values are showing up in the final product.

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It’s not the data, it’s how you use it

Visualisation and dashboarding sound great, but they’re not tasks that can be knocked off in a couple of days. While there are DIY data tools on the market — Microsoft’s Power BI among them — if you don’t have the skills or time to devote to managing them, you won’t get the results you’re looking for.

Building your data team

Many businesses are surprised to find that the one spare hour they can commit to their data platform is far from adequate. That’s why calling in the experts is a smart approach. Agencies with a vast knowledge of data platforms, visualisation and dashboarding are better positioned to get it right for your business.

A good team will start by looking at your wider data strategy to work out which data points are needed to drive those goals and where that data is stored across your organisation.

From there, they’ll recommend a data platform with the capacity to suit your needs, put your data through a rigorous validation process and build custom visualisations and dashboards.

Data security is a top priority, as no business wants to compromise its data during the visualisation process.

The results won’t be immediate, but they will be more powerful – and probably more accurate — than ad hoc visualisations built by someone without the same level of knowledge. The result is the data you need, sourced securely and efficiently and presented in a digestible format for quick, on-the-go decision-making.

Most importantly, it’s data you can trust every single time.

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Struggling to define your roadmap or align your actions with your goals, strategy, initiatives and alignment?

Talk to the Data & Analytics team at Fusion5 for expert insight and practical guidance

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