There’s something to be said for caution. After all, diving into uncharted waters feet first can land us in all kinds of trouble, particularly if those waters are shark-infested and those sharks have severe anger management issues. With this in mind, I can understand small business owners remaining guarded and reticent about adopting data visualization practices.
Data visualization once had a reputation as an expensive pursuit with more to offer to big business than to relative minnows. This is no longer the case. In the past, I’ve written extensively about the tools and platforms available to businesses of all sizes; tools and platforms which have essentially democratized the landscape of DV and have placed its benefits directly into the hands of small business owners.
The time for caution has passed. We’ve established the ‘how’ – although you can get more information on that by clicking here – now let’s look at the ‘why’. These are some of the top factors that make DV so advantageous to small business.
Whatever Configuration You Need
When we talk about the DV tools that have opened the discipline up for organizations at all levels, we are not talking about one or two plugins or apps. No, instead we are talking about a wealth of different tricks and tools, all of which can be put to good use within your organization.
You need tools that can help you get the very best from your BI and your DV strategies. To achieve this, the experts at Microsoft advise looking at variables in five key areas. These are;
- Type of data – A tool which enables you to segment data and then use this data on relevant projects is particularly useful to small business
- Storage methods – Small businesses can augment the storage they currently use by employing cloud architecture, and using tools to connect or manage the two
- Preparation of data – Smaller and medium sized business need tools which allow them to easily prepare datasets ready for visualization, reducing the workload placed on their teams.
- Wielding the data – You also need to be able to transmit the insights derived from DV to anyone who needs it. You need straightforward but powerful tools to achieve this.
- Sharing the data – Data visualizations needs to be accessible across a range of operating systems and devices. Make sure the tools you select can support this
At first glance this may seem like a mind-boggling list of variables to be calibrated but these tools exist. What’s more, many of them are cheap – or even free – to run, giving your business a clear and direct route to supreme insight.
Benefit from Narrative Building
Data visualization is a complex medium. It provides far more to a user than a simple image ever could. In an interview with Kellogg Insight, management and psychology professor Steven Franconeri explained more;
“[Data visualization is not like] a picture from a camera. It’s uses the part of your brain that is designed for seeing and understanding the world outside. Graphs are not like pictures that you can process in a split second. You have to inspect them slowly over time.”
This characteristic of data visualization requires visualizers to be very careful with how they present their information, but it is also the factor which makes DV so valuable. Rather than just showing your user what’s going on, you have the opportunity to build a narrative and place them directly within that narrative. In terms of building authority, nurturing leads, joining the global discourse, and raising the profile of your brand, this is an opportunity which cannot be missed.
Almost Instant Results
Small businesses are allergic to risk. They must minimize this risk wherever possible. This means that all investment must be re-paid with genuine, quantifiable results, as quickly as possible. If there is any doubt involved and if there is a long and lingering latency period to get through before results can be measured, small business owners are understandably reluctant to throw their hats into the ring.
Fortunately, in terms of data visualization, results can be achieved, witnessed, benefited from and measured almost instantaneously. Enhanced levels of engagement, boosted click through and conversion rates, increased traffic via conversations on social platforms, organic backlinks and even – just maybe – that manna of social marketing; the viral social media post.
In the digital landscape, the time between deployment and receiving real results is slashed. The process is accelerated and you will be rewarded for your efforts in lightning quick time. This is what makes data visualization so attractive to business owners; the elimination of risk and of interminable waiting times.
What do you want to get out of data visualization? What is it that has piqued your interest in the first place?
Maybe you want to demonstrate your proficiency as an organization in a bid to attract investment.
Maybe you want to deliver direct insight to your users, showing them a new perspective and developing your status as a genuine authority.
Maybe you want to build a narrative which shows how purchasing your product or subscribing to your service represents an actionable solution for your customers.
Maybe you want to make sure that it is your content and your commercial offerings that are being discussed online.
Whatever your objective, investment in data visualization can help you to achieve it. What’s more, data visualization tools will give your business the agility and versatility required to turn on a dime, changing tack and focus whenever required. If you need to re-purpose an existing dataset to tailor the visualization towards customer conversion, there are tools available which can help you to achieve this. If you need to collate more recent and relevant data to an older visualization in order to achieve a different outcome, this is possible too.
Data visualization is no longer the exclusive hang-out of big business strategy; now it is open for all. Don’t get left behind; make sure your business is positioned to receive the DV advantage.