Companies are being inundated with a tidal wave of information thanks to technology that can track every sale, every stage in a manufacturing process and every step in a supply chain. And that’s only a fraction of the information stored in a business’s computers. There’s too much data for any manager to easily make sense of it all.
A new breed of “visual analytics” software aims to make it easier than ever to decipher all that information. The software takes data from multiple sources — including databases and spreadsheets — and creates simple visual representations, such as charts, graphs and maps. They’re easier to grasp than pages of data, and they are much more flexible than regular charts and graphs. With just a few clicks, you can manipulate the pictures, checking out the effect of different variables or testing alternative scenarios.