Analytics, BI & Data Visualization
Data Analytics occurs when businesses requires information based on data that may or may not exist in the data warehouse and hence may not exist in existing reports. Data analytics is the result of decision-makers thinking outside of the standard operations of the business. The person building the report or investigating the potential new business opportunity needs to dig deep into the data. The required data might be hidden in some transactional system, or the data warehouse may have already processed it.
Similar to how a data warehouse is built, a data analyst might create an interface and pull data from one or more transactional systems into a temporary location to then be pulled into the data warehouse. The data analyst might sometimes use completely different tools to dig into the data. Tools such as Excel, R, Python, and SQL are commonly used to produce different views and to identify data patterns. The data analyst might also use data visualization to assist in the process.
BI or Business Intelligence include other areas of data exploration, such as forecasting, predictive analytics, including machine learning and statistics, master data management, mobile, and embedded data visualization and database technology like No SQL. The bottom line is that BI is not simply a single type of software. It is a group of applications that are used to transform data into information that can be readily consumed by the company’s employees to monitor and execute their functions effectively.
Data visualization is the graphical and numeric depiction of the data and data aggregates, such as numbers, tables, and charts. Data Visualization is useful in conveying information quickly, effectively, and intuitively.
Business needs to generate reports which makes data useful. Data Visualization shows detailed information about facts or transactions. There are 3 ways business users consume data using Data Visualization like dashboards, reports, and alerts.
- Dashboards: the best dashboards are a single page of key metrics represented by tables, charts, gauges, colors, and numbers, and arranged and consolidated in such a way that the consumer can identify and focus areas requiring immediate attention or more investigation. That focus may even lead to additional dashboards or other reports.
- Reports are typically a multi-column list of transactions that has taken place between certain date range, within a specific location or region, or by sales rep. It is a listing, or in many cases an Excel export, potentially with groups and totals.
- Alerts are typically single metrics or phrases that are sent to users. They have to do with one key metric and provide a warning that an event has just taken place that exceeds a meaningful self-defined threshold. Alerts prompt users to action or further investigation.