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Data Culture Starts With Management

 Data Culture Starts With Management

Digital Transformation is about more than just buzzwords and hype cycles. It requires a change in management culture.Kurt Cagle

Digital Transformation and Data Culture are two of the big hype terms to emerge recently from the tech industry think tanks, very high concept and intended to resonate in board rooms globally. As with most such buzzwords, these phrases are remarkably devoid of actual meaning, and as such can be filled in to mean whatever happens to be in the listeners mind at the time.

However, there is enough here that these terms do have significance, in great part because they point to a reality that makes many managers uncomfortable. Failing to manage the data in an organization is not a failure in the tools used to manage that data – it is a failure of management itself.

Put another way, management has no one else to blame if big data projects fail. To understand this, it’s worth clearing a few common but critical misconceptions.

Your databases are full of valuable data. Nope. Not even close. Most databases are filled with transactional data, in effect the ghost signatures of events that have taken place in the past. Some of this can be valuable – especially time series data where you have specific metrics that change over time – but much of it is intended to support applications, there is a great deal of redundancy within the data, and because each database is a world unto itself, synchronizing these databases with other databases can be a complex and expensive process that reduces the return on investment of such data analysis efforts.

Your databases are well designed. The bulk of database development occurs before the first actual piece of data is ever entered into a database. The configuration of tables, columns and keys that a database uses is called its schema, and if you dig deep enough into your IT department you will no doubt find a a block and line diagram that looks like a cork board on steroids, typically called an Entity Relationship (or ER) diagram.

Yet once that ER diagram gets printed, the reality begins to diverge from it. New tables are added because certain features weren’t anticipated, columns get deprecated in favor of other columns, your database admin leaves and a new one takes over,  with his own ideas about data modeling. A database schema gets transferred from one system to another with no one understanding why certain structures were chosen, leading to even more complexity.

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12 Data Visualisation Tools for Excel: Bringing Data to Life

Excel does a job, and it does that job well. But, if you’re looking to present your data in an attractive manner that allows you easily visualize and analyze it, the out-of-the-box product isn’t the best it can be.

Microsoft offers a lot of advice on how you can make the most of their tool for visualization, but even that leaves something to be desired.

12 of the Best Visualisation Tools Available

Browser-based Tools

For the simplest, quickest to access tools, look no further than this selection of browser-based visualization options. The added bonus of these tools is that they will be compatible with any OS you’re using, including Mac.

1. Tableau

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Tableau is a free service that allows you to upload, visualize and share Excel data with your colleagues. You can also embed these visualizations into a website.

2. RAW

RAW is a great way to visualize your Excel data. Simply copy and paste your data into their website, customize the appearance and download your visualization.

3. Vizydrop

Vizydrop is another alternative to the above options: free, quick and shareable.

Excel Add-ins

If you want to improve your visualization options directly in Excel, you’ll need to use an add-in. Microsoft’ store offers a number of options, here are the highlights:

4. Radial Bar Chart

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This add-in displays your data in what can only be described as the outcome of merging a bar chart with a pie chart. Find out more about the Radial Bar Chart add-on from the Office Store.

5. Bubbles

Bubbles presents your data in individual circles, the size of which correlate with the data provided. Take a look at the Bubbles add-on here.

6. GIGRAPH

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This tool lets you take your Excel data table and visualize networks that connect each data point.

7. Power Map

Power Map is a 3D visualization tool from Microsoft. It uses Bing maps to plot data points in the form of bubbles, heat maps or columns.

8. People Graph

It’s a very basic Excel data add-in, but People Graph is a great option for anyone looking to get to grips with basic visualization before moving on to more in-depth tools.

Software Tools for your Excel Data

For the most comprehensive visualization tools available, you’ll likely want to look for software options. This selection includes some of the best we’ve found:

9. Power BI

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Microsoft’s Power BI is a premium visualization tool, bringing together data from hundreds of different sources, including Excel, and making the analysis of that data easy. You can download Power BI Desktop, Mobile, or Gateway for strictly on-premise data sources.

10. Qlik

Like many of the tools featured, Qlik’s drag-and-drop interface makes it simple to build up complex visualizations of your data. It’s got a dedicated desktop app, and it’s a free download.

11. Looker

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Looker claims to ‘make data visualization and exploration easy for everyone’ and that, in a nutshell, is what it does.

12. StatPlus:mac

If you’re looking for a software tool compatible with your Mac and your version of Mac for Excel, StatPlus is a strong solution. It comes in light and pro editions: visit their website to see which option works for you.

Take your Pick

When it comes down to it, many of the options we’ve looked at in this list have similar features. If you want to pick the best tool for your business, your best option is to try out the free tools and see what features you’re missing.

But as a roundup:

12 Data Visualisation Tools for Excel

  1. Tableau
  2. RAW
  3. Vizydrop
  4. Radial Bar Chart
  5. Bubbles
  6. GIGRAPH
  7. Power Map
  8. Power Graph
  9. Power BI
  10. Qlik
  11. Looker
  12. StatPlus:mac

 

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