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Data visualization may be the key to future-proofing your business.

Every day, countless business decisions are made from data. But we can't expect everyone to become a data scientist. With the ever-growing amount of data, businesses need to make data analytics accessible and actionable for their users to help employees to make faster and more informed decisions.

According to a 2012 study by Richard N. Foster of Yale University, the average lifespan of a company listed in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has decreased from 67 years in the 1920s to just 15 years today.

To future proof your business requires agility to make fast, confident decisions from all that data. And they key to that is making data accessible.

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Adapt to change

Grace Hopper, Computer scientist and United States Navy Rear Admiral, once famously stated, “The most dangerous phrase in the language is, ‘we’ve always done it that way.’ To survive in this technological market, you need to be able to anticipate where things are going and adapt before it’s too late.

To make it possible for every business person to use data in their daily lives, it needs to be accessible without having to learn code. And the key to that is data literacy: the ability to help people get data and understand what it can do for them.

Data visualization helps grow data literacy

Your business' analytics are key to helping you adapt to the changing market landscape. By visualizing your data, you can be in tune with your analytics, harnessing real-time data to help you position your business. Data visualization can also help you use your analytics to better understand your customer and your market. Know where they are, what they want, and what problems they're trying to solve.

Through the visualization of data, patterns will emerge, giving you the insights to:

  • Better serve current customers

  • Attract new customers

  • Grow your market share

  • Identify risk and opportunities

Data Visualization helps you look ahead

Henry Ford famously stated, “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” This is why it's important to be a visionary.

With data visualization, you can take your business analytics to the next level. By running predictive analyses, you can forecast trends to stay ahead of the competition. The more you understand what your customers' problems are, the better you can innovate solutions that serve them.

With predictive forecasting, you can run time-series algorithms on historic data that considers trends, cycles and/or fluctuations to predict future values. You can use these future values to go a step beyond your current output and anticipate future needs. If you can spot the trends early enough, you can be first to market in a new category rather than competing in an existing one. In Ford’s case, he foresaw a need for innovation and capitalized in a big way.

There's a tendency to settle for good and not go a step beyond to achieve greatness. But why settle for the same old products, processes, and systems when there could be something better? Trying new methods and ways of thinking stimulate innovation and growth.

Embrace the Change

In a 2016 report by McKinsey & Company, it was reported that automation won’t eliminate occupations entirely, but rather it will have a significant impact on nearly all jobs. In other words, the workforce will become more specialized. Those who embrace this change and adapt are most likely to survive.

In the past 30 years we have already seen massive market disruption from technology. Computers, devices, apps, and software have transformed our lives, the workplace, and the we do business.

Technology should not be feared, it should be embraced for what it is — a tool that makes our lives easier and enables us to work more efficiently.

Data Visualization Software and the Future

To become data literate, your businesses users require a powerful data visualization tool that can help take your company from good to great. For instance, SAP Analytics Cloud offers business intelligence, planning, and predictive software, so can transform static spreadsheets into actionable insights.

This helps your teams to understand what their data is telling them without having to go to IT. They can:

  • Visualize data and uncover insights to make better fact-based decisions

  • Predict trends early to respond and plan for growth

  • Recognize key performance indicators and improve your business performance quickly

  • Discover ways to improve your business by anticipating and responding to opportunities in real-time

It's easy for people to understand data immediately when they see it visually. When data is in visual form it is far easier to see outliers, trends, and details in rich ways.

A thoughtful visualization of data can turn on a lightbulb in someone’s head. This has major benefits for your team, which benefits your business. It’s a leveler, which speeds up understanding of data for everyone, feeding into quicker decision-making. And when data is democratized, it leads to faster and more informed business decisions, and will future-proof businesses.