Visualization the Key to Grown Up Business Intelligence

4 Min Read

In a recent “sticky dots” poll at the Business Intelligence Executive Summit hosted by TDWI, data visualization was a technology that stuck out in the top three “must-have” technologies over the next three years.

Wayne Eckerson polled his colleagues before writing a blog post on the results of this “sticky dots” poll on why visualization was so hot. In his post he writes, “Some suggested that the growing visibility of visual analysis upstarts such as QlikTech, Tableau, and Tibco Spotfire, may account for the increased interest in visualization. These same tools are also being given a boost by hype around “in-memory processing” which delivers speed-of-thought analysis.” 

Later in Eckerson’s post, there’s discussion on how most companies are still in the “teenage years” of Business Intelligence. Well, we see visualization as the key to fast tracking BI to adulthood. Take these trends and discussions we have seen of late.

Advancing Beyond Graphs and Charts

Decision makers want data sooner than later in easy-to-digest visuals. Advanced data visualizations that go beyond graphs and charts are key targets for presenting information that will help speed up the sales process or make crucial business decisions within tight timeframes. See the previous Spotfire post for more details on this trend.

Mapping Data to Identify Trends Quickly

This Dashboard Insights article shows the rise in using geospatial visualizations to identify trends in product, geographic or customer data. Additionally, Lyndsay Wise writes that “as dashboards continue to improve their visualization capabilities, the integration of various forms of visualizations – maps, charts, graphs, video, etc. – will become a common use among organizations looking to get a full picture of their supply chain, customer base and overall business operations.” Last February, she predicted that solution providers would continue to improve their data visualization capabilities and take advantage of interactive features.

This prediction was a good one – note the sticky dot poll data and TDWI’s reporting on advances the upstarts are making in their visualization offerings.

Data Visualization is Going Mainstream

In a Columbia Journalism Review article by Lauren Kirschner, data visualization is going mainstream – media, that is. When a trend is so important that reporters are taking notice and collaborating with programmers to deliver infographics to their audience, it’s time for the business world to take note of this trend.

According to Kirschner, journalists are seeking research in data format from sites like, and

This article even mentions a new type of journalist – a data journalist – and lists resources on how to become a data journalist.

LinkedIn Chatter on Data Visualization

A LinkedIn Answer on the best strategies presenting complex market research in easy-to-comprehend data visuals reveals the real reason behind why this area of BI is so important – “people have no time to read data-strewn reports.”

In the Business Intelligence Professionals Group on LinkedIn, advanced data visualizations beyond the basic graphs and charts were discussed as one of the top five BI evolutions in the next two to three years.

Why Is Data Visualization So Important?

In today’s complex, global and mobile marketplace, data is the basis make sound business decisions. By presenting complex data in visual format, business decisions are easier to make in real-time. And, the companies who are ahead of the curve are the ones who win in today’s marketplace. Data visualization helps get you there.

Amanda Brandon
Spotfire Blogging Team

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