We’ve noticed some things in operational intelligence and data analytics. Well, two main things really. It’s cloud-based and getting pretty popular. According to recent studies by Ventana Research “analytics deployed in cloud-based systems is gaining widespread adoption. Almost half (48%) of participating organizations are using cloud-based analytics.” The research then goes on to state that another 50% will either purchase a solution within the next year or sometime in the future. The other 2% will just stick to the old ways, we suppose (you can read the whole breakdown here.)

But the research showed something else that we find incredibly disturbing even as cloud-based analytics platforms. Of those that have implemented a system already, “only one in seven organizations reach the highest Innovative level of the four levels of performance in their use of cloud-based analytics.” Now that’s worrying.

Why? Because 42% of respondents said they do “not have enough skills to use cloud-based analytics.” That keeps us up at night. How are we, as a human population, supposed to benefit from data when so many of us feel we can’t even use it?

It’s All About the Visualization

Well, we’ve got some ideas on how to fix the situation. Take a look at the prevailing cloud-based data analytics landscape and you’ll spot a trend. Lots of people (we won’t name anyone in particular because we’re polite) claiming to be innovative and amazing in how they make reports and dashboards.

But what do you see in those dashboards and reports? Lots of bar charts. Line graphs. Pie charts. The same visualization methods that we’ve been using for the past 200 years and in all that time they haven’t gotten any better. Poor axis labeling and misleading proportions still make the old ways difficult to use.

And we’re not the only people who’ve said so. The June 2014 issue of Communications of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) states “until recently, a good spreadsheet or perhaps a pie chart might have been sufficient to get a firm grasp on a dataset. However, making sense of big data requires more, and with our increasing inundation with data comes new and creative opportunities to build unique interfaces” (follow this link to read the report yourself.)

Unique interfaces- that’s the answer to making cloud-based analytics accessible and easy to use. We’ve got three ways we are doing it differently than anyone else.

Universally Understood

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This is the most important thing we do- our data visualizations translate key performance indicators into intuitive pictures. These pictures are literally visual cues so anyone, regardless of training or experience, can immediately gain  insights from even the largest, most complex data sets. We group pictures in Tiles which, through their intuitive design and colors, provide the benefits of data analysis to everyone, not just management or data scientists.

It works because the human visual sense is incredibly fast and powerful when it comes to decoding images. New research has shown that in less than a tenth of a second you can perform higher-order processing on any image. What we’ve done is harness that power and use it to unlock huge data sets.

You can read more about our approach to instinctual visual language here.

Actionable

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What can a graph on a dashboard tell you, exactly? It gives you broad strokes, it can tell you what happened last quarter or year because it’s gathering data from your operations and rolling it up.

But what happens when you want more detail from your dashboard? How can you zero in on those people, processes and assets that will make the most impact on your overall performance? If you drill down from a dashboard you’ll invariably meet with rows and columns in databases and spreadsheets that take too long to analyze and we’re right back at that ease-of-use problem.

Because VisualCue Tiles are so easy to understand anyone can look at one and immediately know exactly what steps they need to take to improve. And because our universal visual language is so accessible this type of insight isn’t just available to managers or analysts: anyone in the organization can look at VisualCue and know what they need to do personally to improve their performance.

For more, read on here.

Real-time

So what happens when you combine an intuitive, universally accessible visual language with data to gain immediate, actionable insights? An actual real-time cloud-based data analytics platform that can completely change how you manage your business.

Other platforms say they are real time, but they don’t factor in the time it takes someone to understand their charts and graphs. Without the easy to understand visualizations real-time data analytics are nothing of the kind. You need a way to not only gather the information and display it in real time but to react and respond to it just as fast.

With VisualCue you can implement that real-time, cloud-based data analytics platform and actually start using it to see dramatic improvement fast.

So how do you make analytics easy? It’s all about the visualization.

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