Any business seeking proof of the benefits of visual analytics need look no further than Procter & Gamble.
The company, one of the most consistently innovative and successful in history, has made data visualization one of its key tools in marketing campaign and sales management. The visualization tools helps its marketing and sales teams to effectively access marketing and sales insights, easily and quickly.
What is visual analytics? It’s the use of visualization technology to speed up and improve business decision making, through interactive visual interfaces. It’s enabled the quick analysis of large, complex problems that was previously impossible.
Here are 8 essentials of visual analytics:
1. Faster, Better Decisions
The primary benefit of visual analytics is that it enables businesses to understand data much more quickly – and thus make faster, better decisions. If decision makers must spend too much time trying to understand data, they’re hindered from making decisions and taking action.
2. Simplifies Complex Information
Visual marketing analytics takes complicated information, and makes it easier to understand. “A picture is worth a thousand words” is never more true than in data. Visual analytics makes it easier for businesses to interact with data. The more complex the data, the more valuable visualization becomes.
P&G Example – at P&G, data visualization is used to almost instantly analyze the results of vast, complex campaigns involving millions of consumers. Employees are able to constantly test variables – from pricing to incentives – on dozens of products in scores of territories, with hundreds of total possible variations.
Data visualization enables P&G decision makers to quickly understand the results, and make continuous adjustments to maximize business results. Prior to data visualization, this type of real-time analysis and improvement was impossible.
3. Social-Fueled Data Growth
The explosion in the amount of data available to businesses is fueled by the rise of social media, which itself is fueled by mobile devices and the socialization of data. Providers of visualization solutions now incorporate social media directly into their offerings.
4. Advances in Computing
Visual analytics is now possible more than ever before, due to recent improvements in computing and data storage. Indeed, it’s these technological advances that have enabled businesses – large and small – to harvest and analyze big data.
5. Broadly Available in Business
The tremendous value offered by visual analytics was, until recently, affordable only by industry giants such as P&G. However, the biggest trend in 2014 is the movement of these services to the cloud, which is making them affordable to medium and even small businesses. It’s easier than ever before to add marketing analytics in business.
6. Vendor Selection
Indeed, one of the challenges facing businesses today is picking the right vendors. There’s been a massive increase in vendor offerings, and will likely be some consolidation in the industry. The key for your business is to pick the solutions that align with your goals, such as managing campaigns or calculating your marketing ROI.
7. Trend: Images Into Data
Looking ahead, visual analytics will only grow in importance in business. One looming trend is the growth in deriving data from images. Whereas currently visualization turns data into images, now the reverse is happening, where businesses are turning images into data. The advent of wearable technology such as Google glass, and innovations by companies such as Digital Globe, means that businesses will increasingly collect images for data harvesting.
8. Artificial Intelligence
Looking even further ahead, visual analytics is likely to be made even more valuable by artificial intelligence. AI capabilities will mean software will not only make it easier to understand data, but will increasingly help with decision-making.
Conclusion – visual analytics is an essential part of business. It’s not only here to stay, but it will only become more powerful and important. Look at your business goals, identify which decisions you need to make better and more quickly, and adopt the solutions you need.