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8 minutes read

Big Data Visualization: All You Need to Know

By Jonathan Tarud
An illustration displaying different data visualizations.
By Jonathan Tarud
8 minutes read

Big data visualization is an important tool for any modern business that relies on big data to make key strategic decisions and measure their success. While big data visualization may sound like an inaccessible HiTech technology that is far too complicated for your organization, it is actually really simple and very powerful. 

Data visualization tools are centered on simplifying the dissemination of raw data. Most people are not able to look at raw data numbers and spot trends, and gain valuable insights in a single glance. Most of our brains just don’t work that way. Humans tend to be visual learners. This is why we find pictures so powerful and why you commonly hear the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” 

Let’s get a better understanding of big data visualization. This topic might sound complicated on the surface, but once we begin exploring the details, you will see that data visualization is actually quite simple. 

What is Big Data Visualization?

Your organization gathers large amounts of data (they don’t call it big data for nothing) from your web services, mobile apps, customer interactions, and more. Big data visualization is the presentation of your data in a pictorial or graphical format. Presenting data in this manner makes it easier to understand and ultimately interpret to gain valuable insights. 

There are a number of different ways big data can be represented visually. When you are looking at data presented in a pie chart, bar graph, or any of the other visual representations that could be used, it is easier to make observations that might not be noticeable when looking at raw data figures. 

Data visualization is used to effectively and clearly communicate complex data information in the simplest way possible. It helps strategic decision-makers to view their data in different ways, which can ultimately help them find patterns and correlations that were previously unnoticed or unexpected. 

Why is Big Data Visualization Important?

The modern world is driven in large part by data. Organizations have more data today than ever before, and with the explosion of IoT technology, there will only be more data gathered every year. The more data you have, the more crucial big data visualization becomes to your organization. 

Here are the reasons why big data visualization is so important to modern organizations:

  • Review massive amounts of data
  • Consolidate data into one visual representation
  • Highlight key trends 
  • Find unexpected correlations
  • Make quicker, better decisions
  • Share and present data with other people 

Review Massive Amounts of Data

Organizations are gathering and storing more data than a human could read through, comprehend, and draw valuable insights from. Data visualization techniques help take large amounts of information and present them in easy-to-digest pictorial or graph formats. 

Big data visualization gives users the ability to review a large amount of data and draw insights much more quickly than the alternative of looking over raw data figures and spreadsheets. In the modern business world, strategic decisions need to be made at a moment’s notice. Data visualization helps leaders make quick, sound decisions based on reliable data. 

Consolidate Data Into One Visual Representation

Data is often gathered from a number of different sources and tools. As a result, it often comes in a variety of different formats. Big data visualization can help you transform the many data formats present in your data warehouse into a single visual form. Data that can’t be read or analyzed effectively is more or less useless. Data visualization helps you find the most meaningful and useful visual representation of your data, so it can be easily understood and shared. 

Highlight Key Trends

Capturing trends with your data is extremely important in the data-driven world we live in today. Time-sequence data is very proficient at capturing trends, but the problem is it can be very hard for humans to spot trends in the data, especially when they are subtle or nuanced. Employing big data visualization techniques makes it easy to spot trends in the data

Trends that are spotted can be acted upon. This could help your organization take advantage of new opportunities, or it could help your organization mitigate your risks and help move you out of areas that could be harmful to the business. 

Find Unexpected Correlations 

Big data visualization is not just for quick analysis and decision-making. One of the primary benefits of data visualization tools is that they offer users the ability to explore their various data sets. When you take the time to do a deep dive into your data, you never know what correlations you will find. 

Sometimes something as simple as changing the visualization format of your data can bring to light previously unknown relationships and patterns within your data. Being able to identify and understand unexpected patterns and relationships can give your business a huge strategic advantage. 

Make Quicker, Better Decisions 

One of the biggest benefits of data visualization is that it helps leaders and organizations to make better, quicker strategic decisions. Thanks to visualization, information can be processed by the mind faster, and as we have already seen, big data visualization can help highlight data points and relationships that are not immediately obvious when looking at numbers. 

The ability to make quick decisions based on sound data can give organizations a serious competitive advantage and help them be first movers in a fast-paced business environment.

Share and Present Data With Other People  

The most underrated aspect of big data visualization is how easy it makes sharing, explaining, and presenting data to other people. More often than not, decisions are not made unilaterally. Big decisions require collaboration and input from others. Data visualization makes explaining complicated relationships and data figures simple

Visual stimuli are very powerful. Using big data visualization to make your points and your case for certain actions or steps to be taken is very persuasive. If you struggle to explain yourself or a data analysis, using data visualization can help you make your point and share complicated data points with even the most non-technical people. 

Potential Challenges of Big Data Visualization

Thus far, you are likely very excited about all of the benefits big data visualization can bring to your organization. However, there are some potential challenges that your organization could face when using data visualization that might prevent you from reaping the full potential of this technology. 

Potential challenges you could face with big data visualization include:

  • Finding a specialist 
  • Hardware resources
  • Data quality 

Finding a Specialist 

Big data visualization tools are designed to be easy to use and understand. However, if you really want to maximize the benefits of data visualization tools, you’ll likely need to hire a specialist to help you perform data analytics and choose the best visual forms for your data in order to fully exploit your data sets. It can be hard to find qualified professionals with these skills. If you are unable to find a specialist, you might want to consider using big data visualization tools that are simpler to manipulate and manage.

Hardware Resources

Big data visualization can often require serious computing power in order to deliver real-time data analytics. If you want to fully take advantage of data visualization, you may need to update your hardware, upgrade to faster storage systems, or move your data to the cloud. While updating your hardware and storage systems has a lot of benefits in its own right, you might not be ready financially to update all of your systems at one time in order to accommodate data visualization tools. 

Data Quality 

This is not so much a problem with data visualization as much as it is a reality check. If your data security is lacking or your data quality is poor, data visualization tools won’t help you much. Data visualization won’t help you ensure that your data is accurate or secure. Before you can get value out of big data visualization tools, you need to put data quality measures in place.

Final Thoughts

Big data visualization is so effective because humans are visual learners. Simplifying data and relationships in pictorial or graphical format is extremely helpful when trying to understand complex information. 

We understand that there are a lot of different tools out there, but you can simplify the process of choosing the right tools by working with an app development partner. Let the experience and expertise of a development partner help guide you through the task of finding and implementing the right tools for your organization. 

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