I have sat through quite a few meetings and demonstrations over the last few years and found myself trying to elegantly explain why the requirements for a dashboard or business intelligence app were doomed from inception. With more information readily available about data visualization, the collective BI community I work with are extremely savvy. However, many organizations still struggle to create effective visualizations.
Rather than getting hung up on technology, data, and design, I wanted to back up and make important distinctions that are obvious yet often overlooked for some reason.
In my recent article, 2 Distinctions You Need To Know for Visualization Success, I break down the following differences and provide simple examples that I have encountered in my adventures building technology and running my own enterprise software company:
Data vs Information
Data is one raw ingredient for creating information. It’s not necessarily data or the visual representation of data that business users need – it’s information. The desire for speed and simplicity to visualize data often obscures the goal of obtaining actionable information.
Visualization vs Analysis
The act of visualizing and analyzing data are not mutually exclusive. Visualization is the communication medium, while analysis is a human driven process for discovering meaning. There are a seemingly infinite number of tools today to help us analyze and visualize data together.