The Data Viz Next Step: No More Excuses!

August 11, 2014

The days of saying you can't are long gone. With TARGIT Decision Suite, what you should be saying is how do I do that?

As we get closer and closer to Decision Day 2014, we'll be highlighting some of the topics that are going to be covered at the conference to give you a sneak peek at what's in store. The ever popular Data Viz wiz David Hollinsworth will once again be taking the stage to show you some truly inspirational tips and tricks to amazing Data Visualizations that you can use on your own data. Below, he talks a little about continuing the journey from good to great Data Visualizations.

Last year, we started on a journey together to help bring your data to life with the help from TARGIT and Data Visualization. I said then that the journey would be a long one, but it would be fulfilling and rewarding. Moreover, the fact that so many of you have taken these first steps with TARGIT makes me burst with pride and satisfaction. 

However, it's time to take the next step forward. I'll be your guide to make the journey as comfortable as possible, but you'll have to be courageous and work hard to get to the next stage of Data Visualization.

I've previously introduced you to some simple Data Visualization principles and techniques that helped focus your data and speed up the decision-making process. Now it's time to put them into practice, learn some techniques and get your hands dirty. 

This time around, we're going to be talking about how Data Visualization can help you and your company use, build, and embrace dashboards and storyboards within TARGIT. 

So Where Should We Start? 

It's always a good place to start by showing you what is possible and why it's better than what you've been doing so far. 

Everything about Data Visualization is about great communication, and this isn't any different with Dashboards and Storyboards. It's important to keep them concise and simple -- especially Dashboards -- so the business users don't need a pilot's license to understand and react to indicators on a Dashboard. Check out some examples of each below.





Let's Take a Closer Look at Dashboards

The importance of Dashboards in an age when our attention span is ever decreasing has never been stronger. 

Dashboards give your organization focus. Focus on what makes your company successful and, more importantly, focus on the risks to avoid to keep it successful. Monitoring success and risk indicators at different organizational levels allows businesses to devote more of their precious time on tasks that benefit your company's goals and less time on tasks with little or no impact on these goals.

In addition to focus, Dashboards provide your company with strategic alignment. In other words, a sort of guidance from top to bottom and left to right.

But keep in mind: One Dashboard does NOT fit all. To get the most out of Dashboards, they must be designed so each business area only receives the information that helps them make better and faster decisions. Avoid overloading employees with too much noise by asking them to consider data that they aren't familiar with or that distracts from their own goals.

The Basic Elements

Great Dashboards are built using a few simple TARGIT objects, and each of these objects will answer a specific business question. It's a matter of knowing which object fits which type of question. This is where I hope to help you, so listen up since I'll say this only once! Who am I kidding; this is all you're going to hear from me the next 12 months. ;)

Info Gauges

If you have a business question that can be answered with a single value, an Info Gauge is the best way to convey this precisely and directly. Colorful TARGIT Intelligent Agents can be added to Info Gauges to enhance the quality of the answer if necessary. Below, you can see some examples of great Info Gauges.


Progress Gauges

Business questions that involve business values compared to other business values (such as budgets and last year's values) can be answered by using one of TARGIT's many standard Progress Gauges. Below, you can see a couple examples of Progress Gauges.



Scalable Maps

Whenever business questions about business values that are distributed over spatial dimensions (such as countries, regions, floor plans, and production plants) they are best presented using the Scalable Map object. Below, you will find a small selection of Scalable Maps possible in TARGIT.




Bar/Line Charts

A business question that contains time or category spread can be answered best using line and bar charts.



TARGIT's New Data Visualizations (Available in TARGIT Decision Suite 2014)


Now Lets Get Your Story Out There.

Storyboards give you the opportunity to convey a message -- with as few words as possible -- as one seamless narrative to a targeted audience. They tell a story that informs the viewer on the progress of set goals and highlight specific business cases that should be celebrated or focused on. 

It's important to follow a few simple guidlines when Storyboards are used: Storyboards should be simple, easily digested, and contain a good balance of both successful and risk indicators. By following these guidelines, Storyboards become powerful, direct, and credible, enabling your message to be remembered and retained easily by the viewer.

What are the Building Blocks of a Great Storyboard?

All the building blocks needed to produce compelling and successful storyboards have already been created. YES, would you believe it: Dashboard elements are the foundations of all Storyboards.


Simply knowing the best way to combine Dashboard elements and make sure that viewer know exactly where they are in the Storyline is a critical factor. Adding narrative elements, such as headlines and highlighted organizational and structural overviews, immensely enhance Storyboards.

Being Up to Date

The impact of Dashboards and Storyboards is also directly related to the quality and speed of which data can be retrieved from the underlying data sources. Having Dashboards and Storyboards based on information that is updated once a month, once a week, or even once a day can result in poor Data Visualization implementations. Many data strategies can be implemented to get the best results possible and depending on your current data strategy, TARGIT Professional Services can help you find the correct one for your needs.

Want to Know More?

Join me at TARGIT Decision Day to learn more about building your own Dashboards and Storyboards and see it all in action.