8 seconds – that’s how long it takes to tie a shoe, it’s about how long it takes Bill Gates to make $2,000 and it’s just under the amount of time it takes Usain Bolt to run a hundred meters. It’s also the length of the average human attention span and when it comes to plain, dry business reports, it’s likely even shorter.
Today with 65% of the population being visual learners, it’s more important than ever before to grab someone’s attention right away. Data visualization in business intelligence can be a major key to help that majority process information quicker and easier.
Hello world! My name is Mike Ploger and I’m here with Visme, and we want to help you take your reports to the next level. You see, it’s crucial for employees, clients and partners to not only understand what’s happening, but why it’s happening.
Incorporating data visualizations into your business reports is step number one in order to accomplish this. Shall we?
First, you don’t want to create a data chart just because. You must understand why the chart is necessary in the first place.
It’s a visual tool that can help decipher complex data, discover patterns, identify trends and most importantly it can drive a point home and deliver a strong message.
Now it’s important that your numbers always add up and it must be scaled appropriately with just the right amount of variables and data points. Let’s dive into a few examples from various departments to help you visualize what your next report could look like.
1. Accounting Department
If you work in an accounting department, there’s a couple ways to redesign standard reports. Let’s start with that always joyful expense report.
Why put a monthly expense report into words that could easily be overlooked, when you can visualize the data to discover the patterns and areas in need of improvement.
You can categorize each expense comparing usage to the allowed budget. A line chart can clearly show the differences over time and pictures can help organize that data.
Take a look at this chart. This chart can be presented to an accounting department head to help them immediately understand where expenses are rising. You see the overall spike between July and September and even the recent shipping expense of $6,700.
By organizing these numbers in the visualization, you’ll be much less likely to receive pushback when you want to implement spending limits.
When presenting revenue, profit or expense data as a whole, a financial dashboard can be a great guide. Not all employees understand big data, so they’ll just be lost looking at the document of nothing but words and numbers.
But with the data visualization, anyone can understand the direction of a company no matter how comfortable they are with the analytics. With charts and graphs, employees can see the differences over time.
Yeah sure, numbers are down from last month, but profits from a year ago are much higher. With companies moving towards more transparency, it’s common to see these interactive dashboards for employees to log into at anytime.
The information can be updated constantly, making the company’s performance available to be viewed whenever. And when it comes to your churn rate, revenues, new customers or any other key performance indicator, visuals just like this one can work perfectly.
2. Marketing and Sales Team
How much money are you spending on marketing? And as a result, how much profitability have you gained?
This is a familiar question that marketers face on a monthly basis. Here, PostcardMania examined the differences in revenue versus marketing cost over a 13-year period. By using a line chart, it’s easy to understand the differences between the two lines.
The money spent on ads, email engagements or website views proves a positive correlation in respect to revenue. In other words, your boss is super happy.
Not only because of the productivity, but because you made their life easier by submitting an easy-to-read data visualization.
Another example comes to us from information gathered from Google Analytics.
This visual here is communicating web traffic, but not just total traffic coming into the site. This breaks down the incoming traffic from the original source, and reveals indicators that reflect the bottomline, such as registrations and conversion rates.
Lead generation can be a pretty tricky process. It’s difficult to measure engagement and conversion rates, but data visualizations can help.
Mapping charts every lead generation process can help discover roadblocks or on the other hand, help assess where leads are most likely to convert.
As you continue to visualize data from your CRM software, the most common paths of purchase will emerge. Use that info to create journeys and personas that will inform your strategy going forward.
3. Human Resources
Learning Management Reports
If you’re looking to promote an employee, or maybe on the other hand, maybe lay one off, data visualizations can help you identify individual performance as well.
After all, the most important asset of any company is the people. And it’s easier now than ever before to compare them to one another.
While Jane’s sales pitches here are exceptional, seen in the purple in the left diagram, her company presentation is sub standard. With the data visualization like this, top performers can be rewarded while those who are slacking can be identified.
Data visualizations are also great with training new hires. Again, so much data from learning management systems can go to waste if the viewer can’t decipher it.
Hiring Source Reports
Speaking of new hires, nowadays there’s a number of ways someone can be brought onto a staff. Could be a job board, could be applying directly or maybe it’s a referral.
If you create a data visualization for each department, you can get a better idea of where to look when it comes time to hire again.
For example, maybe those in your IT department are hired from job boards, while those in your marketing department come by referral. This will minimize wasted recruiting tactics that result in unqualified applicants clogging up that application folder.
4. Tech Team
Chances are, you’re using a ticketing system to report issues to your IT team, and then you have to track that problem until it’s resolved. Sure, you can note the number of tickets and time it took to reach a resolution but there is even more that could be done.
Is there a certain piece of equipment that faults consistently? How was an issue resolved? We don’t know, but we could if we track it more thoroughly by using a data visualization.
We can easily notice when an incident is occurring, and perhaps even predict when it could happen again. Rather than fighting fires, you’re now preventing them.
Business leaders are go, go, go. They might not have time to read through crowded reports before addressing investors or clients. That’s where we bring in a data visualization.
Given how easy it is to digest info through the use of visuals, business leaders can strategize appropriately without sludging through a report.
Or, if you present to an investor, data can showcase what’s the most important in an easy-to-read format that doesn’t require guidance.
Going back to those interactive dashboards, they can save a board of advisors from checking numbers for the first time in quarterly meetings as they can check that information in real time and strategize accordingly.
Okay, that’s all the examples I have for you today. Trust me, by using a data visualization in business intelligence, you’ll grab and keep your viewers attention much easier than with raw data alone.
And in a world where we check our phones 80 times a day, it’s more important now than ever before.
Hey! Look no further than where to begin than with Visme. We have endless tools to help you create the perfect graphic.
Whether you’re in the accounting department, tech support, marketing, you name it, Visme can help you. Just head to Visme.com right now to sign up and get started right away.
Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our channel. Whatever design question you may have, we likely have the answers. Until next time, I’m Mike Ploger with Visme, helping you Make Information Beautiful.