Big data, data science, artificial intelligence, etc., are some terms we hear quite often these days. Though they are all different from each other, the common point for all the concepts is data.
Collecting, processing, and analyzing data is the core aspect. With access to volumes of data every second, enterprises are now under the pressure of excess data.
But raw data on its own is of little or no value. We can hardly understand anything from it. One famous method of understanding a vast amount of raw data is known as data visualization.
Data Visualization tools come into play.
What is Data Visualization?
In simple terms, presenting data in an easy-to-understand visual or graphical format is known as data visualization. Of course, it is not as limited in its usage.
A few data visualization examples include- presenting data in various charts, graphs, infographics, maps, and interactive dashboards to facilitate a better understanding of the derived insights.
It is all about how effectively you can analyze and present the data in real-time to derive accurate and meaningful insights. These insights help you make better decisions to expand the business, grab new market opportunities, enhance customer satisfaction, and increase ROI.
The types here are nothing but the numerous ways in which data can be presented in a visual format. There are as many as 67 types of data visualizations to choose from. Nevertheless, these 10 are the most popular choices for enterprises around the world.
Tree graphs, heat maps, dot maps, networks, and text tables are a few more types of data visualizations we see often.
But how are such graphics and visuals created? Employees can’t spend days and weeks working on data, right? By the time they manually create a chart, the data would be outdated, and the market trends would have changed.
You can compare values and get the gist of what’s better and what’s not just by looking at a graph. You can identify the patterns in huge volumes of data to see how a decision or a change has impacted different aspects of your business.
It becomes easier to identify emerging trends in the market and plan in advance to make the most of the changes. This fetches you a definite edge over your competitors.
There are times when we want to see how certain variables can change the course of the business plan. Or, we might want to correlate two or more types of data visualizations to identify common variables. The data visualization tools online can help us find what we are looking for. These can be used through the cloud, through browsers, and/ or by installing in-house servers.
Tableau is counted among the best data visualization tools. Since it was released in 2013, many small, medium, and large data analytics consulting firms have started working on the software and became Tableau Alliance Partners. You can find a lot of firms offering Tableau services to manage big data.
You can use Tableau as a desktop app, via servers, hosted online through the cloud, or even the free public version. Data from CSV, Salesforce, Google Analytics, and various other sources can be processed and presented on the interactive dashboard.
The vast gallery of infographics to choose from is a delight to every Tableau consultant. The tutorials shared on the website help consultants brush up their skills and become efficient in using Tableau software for data visualization.
Data privacy is another advantage of investing in Tableau, though the free public version doesn’t allow you to keep your data analytics private.
However, FusionCharts is also recognized as one of the most powerful ready-to-use data visualization tools in the market. You don’t have to build each chart from scratch. The existing templates make it an easy job of presenting the data and embedding the graphics to websites.
FusionCharts can be integrated with several programming languages and frameworks. It also happens to offer a lot more features compared to other data visualization tools.
Power BI is a business intelligence tool that lets you connect different data sources to collect information, simplify data processing, and deliver instant data analytics.
You can access Power BI through a web browser and smartphones. Since the tool has been created by Microsoft, it is similar to MS Excel in many ways.
That said, it offers advanced analytics and visualization charts compared to Excel. You can also use the tool by downloading it to your in-house servers. You can try the free version before you invest in the paid one.
Whether it is a small startup or a multinational company, Power BI can be used by any business. It is one of the data visualization tools excel lovers like to use due to the similarities and ease of use. Though it supports numerous data sources, it cannot be integrated with the existing business systems or software. Power BI has to be used independently.
Of course, you can still move further and use D3.js through apps that have been designed to help non-programmers use data visualization tools made using programming languages. NVD3 lets you work on reusable charts with D3.js.
Plotly (another data visualization tool) has a Chart Studio app that lets you create WebGL and other charts to present the data.
The focus on D3.js is on web standards. It is powerful, efficient, and creates great visuals. It is available for free so that you can download the source code and customize it as per your business requirements.
Visme offers a full set of graphics such as templates, graph makers, and data widget libraries to create an array of visuals. You can import live data from Google Sheets, create customized dashboards to track the latest changes and generate a multitude of reports for different factors such as social media, sales, KPIs, and more.
The visuals created using Visme are both detailed and beautiful. The advantage of using this data visualization tool is that you don’t need to learn any complex designs to use the tool. It is simple and easy to use while delivering good quality visuals in the way you want them.
The company offers a free plan in case you want to give it a try before deciding whether or not you wish to invest in it. Since Visme is aimed at a wider target audience, the standard and complete plans work for bloggers, freelancers, and startups. Large-scale enterprises can opt for a customized plan with more features.
It lets you create interactive data charts, graphics, infographics, and much more. You will need to have knowledge of the programming language to work on the code and create visuals based on your requirements. However, the company has tried to make the tool user-friendly.
Simply download Chart Studio and use it to present data in an attractive and meaningful manner. You can start with the free version that can be accessed via the cloud. Plotly offers in-built support for APIs so that you can integrate it with platforms like Salesforce to access data in real-time and generate visuals.
It doesn’t require too many adjustments or changes to start using HighCharts. It is fast, flexible, and needs bare minimum expertise to work on this data visualization tool. While that can be seen as an advantage, it also means that HighCharts is slightly older compared to the latest tools and doesn’t offer as many options to expand the charts. It is useful for startups and small businesses, though you will need to buy the license to use the commercial version of HighCharts.
But it is also one of the highly used data visualization tools on the internet. HighCharts is definitely worth trying.
FineReport has been developed for enterprise-level usage. It is written in pure Java and combines data entry and data visualization. If you are worried about having to learn the programming language, FineReport offers you great respite. Unlike other data visualization tools based on languages, this one doesn’t require coding.
Yes! You don’t need to write code to use FineReport. Whether it is to create data visuals or customize a dashboard, all you have to do is drag and drop elements to their desired positions. Another advantage of using FineReport is that it can be connected with almost any data source.
Customizing the tool is also simple. And, there’s more. The user interface is much similar to Excel and makes it easy for even beginners to work on FineReport. The company offers the personal version for free. Small startups can start with it.
Datawrapper was designed for media houses that need to add charts, infographics, and maps to news items. The simplicity of the interface and its straightforward use have made this data visualization tool quite popular in recent times.
It is super easy to embed the data visuals to articles and stories posted on news websites. The tool relies on the age-old technique of copy-pasting data. This reduces the number of sources from which you can import the data.
However, creating charts hardly takes any time. You need to click once on the button, and the charts are generated based on your requirements. From bar graphs to locator maps and scatter plots, you have a range of data visualizations to choose from.
The free plan is great for startups, though it is suggested to invest in a paid plan as your business expands. The built-in color blindness checker is a highlight of Datawrapper.
Qlik Sense is a well-known BI tool that has been designed to make data analytics easy for every business. It is flexible, scalable, and can be used by downloading the software to on-premises servers, hosting it on the cloud platform, or by using it through SaaS.
It helps combine, load, visualize and explore data. It doesn’t matter how huge the data volume is. Qlik Sense can handle it effectively. The dashboard is super cool and comes with a multitude of features. Of course, there are certain limitations when it comes to exporting data. But that can be handled by the data analytics team. You can try the free trial version before investing in it.
Based on the features of the best data visualization tools, we can conclude that Tableau and Power BI are the right choices for a business.
There are several other data visualization tools available in the market for your business use. The tricky part here is to find the right tool for your business. The business volume, industry, talent pool, and financial limitations are some factors you need to consider before finalizing a tool.
Give a shot to the free trial version of the tools before you invest in any of them. You can contact data analytics firms to get a better idea about data visualization tools be it tableau or any other and take their advice. You can also hire their services for data visualization to get more reliable insights.