When it comes to understanding data, businesses sometimes find themselves unable to see the trees for the forest. The truth is that there is simply too much raw information, and focusing on specific details among the vastness of available data can be very difficult—and will only get more difficult as more data is created in the years to come. Experts predict that by the year 2020, there will be approximately 40 zettabytes (which is equal to 40 trillion gigabytes) of data in existence. With such a large amount of available information, getting a clear analytical picture often seems impossible. Even now, with so many businesses putting a heavy emphasis on big data and data mining, 53% of business leaders say that too much data is being left unanalyzed.

Big data analytics makes it possible for organizations to sift through captured data in order to produce viable, actionable conclusions related to causes, processes, and trends. However, for that refined information to be useful, it needs to be able to bridge the gap between data silos and decision makers. After all, even the best analytics programs aren’t worth much value if the human users are unable to interpret and act upon the data being presented. The solution to this problem is big data visualization.

Big data visualization is the process by which large amounts of analyzed data are converted into an easy-to-comprehend visual format. By presenting complex data as graphs, charts, tables, diagrams, or other visuals, users are able to more-easily grasp the meanings behind the information, and do so quickly. Big data visualization tools are becoming an absolute necessity for any business that wants to get the most out of their analytics programs, with 73% of high performers strongly agreeing that such analytics tools are valuable in gaining strategic insights from big data. As such, the visualization market is growing at an unprecedented rate, and is expected to reach $6.4 billion before the end of 2019.

But beyond the complex numbers, big data visualization has one simple purpose: to make data easier to understand and act upon. As a result, it provides several key benefits to business users.

The primary benefit of big data visualization is that it enables decision makers to better comprehend complex data, but within the umbrella-concept, there are several more-specific advantages worth considering. Here are some of the most valuable benefits of big data visualization:

  • Quickly process large amounts of data
    It’s called big data for a reason. With so much information being captured, organized, and analyzed, there is simply too much raw data for the average human mind to process at any sort of reasonable pace. Big data visualization cuts out the lengthy process of data comprehension, and instead makes it possible for users to digest large, complex data stores at a glance. This is often accomplished through the use of interactive, visually-presented dashboards.
  • Access important data in real time
    In the fast paced world of business, every second counts. Businesses that have to rely on more-traditional methods of collating and refining vast amount of data often end up with obsolete information. On the other hand, the best big data visualization tools operate in real time, constantly updating the information being presented, so that at any given time that a user might need to access them, they’ll always have the most current data available. In fact, according to a 2013 study by Aberdeen Group, managers in organizations that use visual data discovery tools are 28 percent more likely to find information that is timely.
  • Understand data better through interactivity
    Interactive big data visualization tools take the visualization process beyond the use of simple graphs and charts, and instead allow users the chance to see beyond the numbers. By allowing users the opportunity to delve deeper into causes and trends, big data visualization allows decision makers the chance to see not only what the numbers are saying, but also why.
  • See the connections between business processes and performance
    Although few leaders would deny that the daily business-processes and operational activities of an organization have a direct impact on overall business-performance, it can be difficult to see exactly how these activities are affecting the company’s success. Big data visualization tools solve this problem, by allowing leaders the opportunity to visually discover the hidden relationships that connect the day-to-day processes with business performance.
  • Tell a story through data
    The human mind tends to prefer to process information linearly, which is to say that it likes to see causes, effects, and resolutions lined up in such a way as to tell a story. By presenting data in a way that is visually-centered, big data visualization gives information something that it generally lacks—a sense of progression. This makes it more-easily understandable, and thus easier for users to comprehend and act upon.
Data is everywhere, and as industries move even further into the digital age, it’s going to become ever-more present . But just because there is an ocean’s worth of data available, it doesn’t necessarily mean that businesses will be unable to comprehend the drops that constitute it. Big data visualization makes it possible for organizations of all sizes to better understand the details that make up the whole. And when that happens, making informed, data-driven decisions becomes as easy as opening an eye.
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