Pioneering Data Visualization

Somewhere between the safe, sterile cul-de-sac of standard reporting and the wild-wild west of statistical analysis lies the open frontier of data visualization. This fresh way of presenting data represents a tipping point from the static reports of old to a brave new world where data is intuitive, easy-to-use and welcomes custom queries…without the intervention of IT.

What is data visualization? How can you make sure it is part of your strategy as you move your company to a successful future?

All of us are familiar with the standard report features found in the technology we use every day — results are presented as tables and/or tabs that allow you to knit data together manually, sometimes from several reports, in order to get information needed to make important business decisions. If you want information outside of the standard reports you could find yourself waiting for a response from IT. While your executives are circling the wagons, you eventually get some, if not all, the information you are looking for but the process is cumbersome and can be time consuming.

Data visualization goes beyond standardized reporting to create a comprehensive, dynamic picture of your business by providing details that open up a whole new frontier. This innovative way of presenting data is visual in nature and intuitively interactive. The flexibility to move dynamically within a visual platform gives you the opportunity to see the entire landscape and allows you to narrow in on the things that are important to you – instantly. The result is a dramatically different way of interacting with business intelligence and data that facilitates new discoveries and improves decision-making.

Let’s consider this example, when reviewing labor spend within a data visualization dashboard you can start your review with a high-level snapshot of company-wide spend, and with one click isolate the spend for a specific job category. With another click you “zoom in” on that spend as it relates to just the east coast. Drilling down even further into the details is another click and you isolate an individual branch, department and eventually, an assignment. Whether you want to see the forest through the trees or just a single leaf on an oak tree, data visualization provides “intuitive” data presentation and opens up a brand new world of analysis; illuminating what is relevant and allowing decisions to be more actionable.

Of course, the best data analytic dashboard in the world is only as good as the user who drives it. To stay agile, companies can hire full time staff to analyze their data, or they can rely on a partner that knows the industry. For this reason, companies often pair a vendor management system (VMS) with a managed service program (MSP), which delivers the support of trained workforce professionals that can get the most out of these powerful tools.

Nowhere is the need for information more critical than in the management of an integrated workforce. For our industry, the shift toward data visualization is quickly becoming the new standard and for good reason. With so many moving parts, so much information to process and the high cost of labor to a company’s bottom-line, good analysis is no longer a luxury. This is your chance to be a pioneer by embracing a new way of presenting, reviewing and analyzing data. The steps you take now will help guide your business into the next frontier of business management.

 

David Lewis
David Lewis is vice president of corporate operations, for Agile-1.

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