Thriving On Data #3 – Now You See Me
Such big data, so little time. The more we create, the harder it is to deliver real value against the changing needs of both the organization and the marketplace. With time, the context of data often changes. To understand and manage this change, we must understand our business and its data better. Increasingly, this is not just the realm of data science, but that of digital visualization. When we combine state-of-art technology with sound business strategy and orchestrate the right and left sides of our brain, we start to see. Our visual story becomes insight, then action, and finally business value.
The main issue with data is that it is simply not accessible to everyday business people as, it is difficult to understand, to adapt and then exploit as a result of its increasing isolation from ‘business as usual’ activities. To bridge this widening context gap, we need to embrace data visualization and embed its benefits into the operational fabric of our business. By doing this we can deliver intelligence which is ‘to the point’, insulated from underlying IT complexity, instantly consumable at the point of action and instinctive in its application.
This is when real value is created from data.
Acquisition, marshaling and increasingly pre-analysis of data is now a commodity. ‘Big Data’ technology, cloud foundries and the emerging field of cognitive computing are accelerating real-time data insight as vendor-technologies exceed the mainstream tipping point. Despite this, typical Big Data approaches are wedded to corporate data complexity and divorced from business reality.
The journey to enlightenment remains shrouded behind a veil of PhD statisticians and CXO command-and-control mentality. What’s more, business users are dissatisfied due to enterprise inability to deliver meaningful and adaptive insight. Maybe, the data artist is the data relationship counselor that can bring business and IT together using common language.
To improve your corporate data relationship think infographics, accessible visualization, interactive presentation technology, usable metrics and wearable devices as crucial elements of your evolving digital palette.
So you now believe that a ‘picture paints a thousand words’ and that data science and data art are equal partners in Big data success so, what are the next steps?
(1) Expand your data toolkit with infographics and visualization tools
From infogr.am to easel.ly, through piktochart to visual.ly and quid we need to progressively simplify the complex using accessible visual metaphor technology. Vendors like Tableau or SAS with their Visual Analytics tools are just two mainstream examples of tools that enable business users to become data artists; make data an ‘Object Of Desire‘ and it is more readily consumed.
(2) Adopt non-linear intelligent presentation approaches
Armed with ‘Dan Roam’ mentality and your printed linear slide decks consigned to the waste bin, try out cloud-based visual presentation technologies such as Prezi, Haiku Deck and Slideshare to consolidate your ideas using a visual, data-driven, dynamic and non-linear approach.
(3) Embrace Usable Metrics
Take progressive action to ensure your reports and visualizations focus on a small but perfectly balanced set of metrics through which you can easily monitor the development of your business accurately and, of course, incrementally.
(4) Get physical to accelerate context
Google Glass, Microsoft Band, Apple Watch, Moto 360 and Oculus Rift are the early birds in the technology migration to ‘surroundable data context’. These technologies have the potential to inject meaningful personalization at each point of business and channel interaction. In addition, as we ‘swear by wearables’, development frameworks such as Android Wear ‘live and breathe’ visual thinking. With only a few square inches of screen real-estate, we have to make the information count and therefore put ‘actionable context’ before detailed narrative.
(5) See the bigger picture
When looking at the overarching TechnoVision framework, we begin to see that ‘Thriving On Data’ is a collaboration across all our digital building blocks; it cannot stand alone. The reverse is also true as we can only deliver ‘actionable data’ if we truly embrace the ethos of ‘Process on the Fly’ and, we can only easily visualize a complex story if we adopt ‘You experience’ and mobile design philosophy in parallel.
To deliver data context we have to consider our business transactions as visual stories. Whilst data science may provide the corporate data pump, data visualization delivers the organizational smart-meter, ensuring the right information is delivered efficiently into the hands of right person in the right format at the right time with ‘a la mode’ perspective.
Still looking for inspiration? Consider leading-edge examples of digital dashboards such as the SAP-Hana powered McLaren Formula 1 racing dashboard, digitally create your Youniverse personality and understand the pulse of Amsterdam in these stunning examples. Then, expose your ‘inner digital Van Gogh’ by consuming the perfection of simple visual design on the Information is Beautiful blog to add color to your evolving data artist palette.
If we have continuous and actionable insight, we will not only understand the situation but, will ‘see’ the next best course of action immediately; this could be a real epiphany as our data speaks in a language we can understand, morphs as our needs dictate and finally becomes the ultimate driver to our on-going Digital Transformation journey.
Value from data: not an illusion. Real.
Your expert: Mamatha Upadhyaya
Part of Capgemini’s TechnoVision 2015 update series. See the overview here.