In today's "high technology" corporate culture, sometimes it seems there are so many buzzwords you need a dictionary just to get through the Monday morning sales meeting! "Data visualization" is one such buzzword you are likely hearing a lot about these days - and especially in conjunction with Hadoop, the newest sensation in "big data" storage and transmission solutions. Here is an overview of how these two tools can work together to create powerful new opportunities for your business.
“Data Visualization" Defined
Data visualization as a term may sound imposing, but underneath all it really means is any tool - such as Hadoop excel - that can put raw data into a format that permits greater understanding of what the data means.
Here is an example. Let's say you are a business manager overseeing a newly released product. The product has been on the market for just 12 months. You have a bunch of raw data and a bunch of questions about actual product performance as related to project sales projections. Data visualization tools are what you need to use to put that raw data into a format that can answer your questions.
As you can imagine, having the ability to collect, organize and view data in a way that helps you visualize trends, patterns, issues and opportunities gives you a powerful competitive edge in today's rapidly changing marketplace!
Use Hadoop Plus Data Visualization for Internal Comparison
One way data visualization tools can work with Hadoop to help you streamline and improve business operations is through internal comparison studies. For instance, let's say you have three variables' worth of raw data: the new product sales, your wholesale costs and the overhead associated with that product's project team.
Viewed independently of each other, you may see no correlation between one and either of the other two variables. But through data visualization, you can not only see patterns that would otherwise remain invisible, but you can also solve small problems before they become big problems! Let's say you projected you would make 15 percent profit on each product sale, but you are only averaging 10 percent. You want to know why. Data visualization can pull your company costs, product costs and product profits together to show you that one of your vendors has increased their supplies costs in one region of the country, driving costs up and profitability down. You can also pinpoint two regions where salespeople are delivering on quantity but not profitability quotas (i.e. they are selling the product at a discount).
Now that you can visualize how all three data streams intersect and relate, you can take action to boost profitability and cut expenses (perhaps by changing vendors and instituting minimum per product profitability requirements for your sales staff).
Use Hadoop Plus Data Visualization for Competitive Advantage
Another key advantage of combining the raw data Hadoop stores for your company with data visualization tools is that you can quickly spot emerging trends or opportunities and jump on them before your competitors do! Let's say that every quarter you pull the sales report data for your new product in different regions. This report includes number of products sold and post-sale customer satisfaction survey data.
Using data visualization tools, you notice customers in a specific region are reporting in their customer satisfaction survey that they are using your new product both for the use it was designed for - and also for a new use you hadn't even thought of! Now you can jump on this opportunity to market your new product to an entirely new segment of customers before your competition even gets wind of the new use!
Use Hadoop Plus Data Visualization for Real-Time Strategizing
One of the most powerful options data visualization tools can offer your company is the ability to consolidate vast amounts of raw data into usable visual formats in real-time or near real-time. This means there is no waiting for the monthly or quarterly profitability statement to find out whether your new advertising and marketing campaign is delivering the results you anticipated.
You can now see how the campaign is performing - by region, by product, even by specific product attributes - on a daily basis. Find out which colors, models and styles are selling best or worst. Find out which regions are experiencing the greatest and least demand for the new product based on campaign rollout dates. Discover which venues - billboards, social media, email newsletters, direct mail - are delivering the best sales results.
By harnessing the power of Hadoop plus data visualization tools, your company can begin to shift its internal paradigm to more closely mirror daily ever-changing market conditions while learning to adapt in near real-time to losses, wins and emerging opportunities.