It's no secret that customer data is at the heart of modern business. Innovative companies can use it in a variety of ways, making their service more personal and efficient.
Of course, you can only capitalize on the data you're collecting if you can understand it. And for some business leaders, customer data might as well be a foreign language. That's where data visualization can help...
What is data visualization?
Data visualization is exactly what it sounds like: A way for you to represent your data graphically.
You may have never heard the term, but you've certainly interacted with data visualization before. Bar graphs, pie charts, and maps are examples of data visualization that we interact with daily.
It's a useful strategy for turning abstract and vast quantities of data into a simple visual that anyone on your team can understand at a glance.
The benefits of data visualization for fast-growing companies
The benefits of data visualization are as easy to grasp as data visualization itself. Businesses that visualize their data in an easy-to-understand format can share and digest information faster.
In other words, there's less explaining! You can quickly send or show your team visualizations of your data with a brief description. It's more efficient as well as more enlightening.
For fast-growing companies, data visualization is a must. It helps catch everyone up to speed quickly, especially if someone is new to your organization.
Similarly, you can use data visualizations to quickly communicate your progress, goals, and service to those outside of your business. That makes it an effective tool for sharing information with investors, the media, and others.
7 data visualization tools for scaling companies
Of course, all of the benefits we've covered are only accessible if you can visualize your customer data.
To make that simple, we've put together a list of the best data visualization tools for fast-growing businesses. Each one can be used to take your existing and future data and output it as a simple, readable graphic.
First up is Metabase. Metabase is not only one of the best data visualization tools available today (in our humble opinion), it's also our recommendation for most companies.
The reason for this is Metabase's flexibility. It can be as complex or as simple as you need it to be, and it can switch between the two at a moment's notice.
This means that everyone on your team, from your CEO to your customer support staff to your tech-savvy researchers, can dig up the data they need in no time. It works with a wide variety of databases, including Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, PostgreSQL and Snowflake.
It’s also open-source and includes a generous free plan that suffices for most companies to visualize their data in a nice and intuitive way. On top of that, it’s designed in a thoughtful and minimalistic manner and it’s packed with user-friendly features that allow people who aren’t familiar with SQL to build dashboards and reports without it.
Next up is Power BI. Developed by Microsoft, this data visualization tool is extremely powerful for businesses that are already plugged into the Microsoft Office ecosystem.
For one thing, it works very similarly to other Office apps. If you've used Microsoft Word or Excel, you'll feel right at home with this app. And it works with these apps for easy integration.
Despite its familiarity, Power BI manages to bring sophisticated features beyond the friendly face. It includes built-in AI capabilities, data security features, and can easily scale with your business.
It's used by some of the biggest companies in the world, such as Adobe, making it a product you know you can trust.
Looker is another extremely popular option among start-ups, scale-ups and larger companies. It’s mainly loved for its great customization capabilities, library of visualizations, ease of use and large number of integrations with big data platforms and databases.
It also offers analytics code blocks with SQL patterns that are customizable to your specific needs. On top of that, embedded in the experience is an easy link-sharing capability that makes collaborating with teams simple and straightforward.
Some of the downsides, however, include a lack of flexibility within the system (mainly due to how simple the tool is) and sometimes long load times for large dashboards that contain heavy amounts of data.
Also, without an external tool, getting your marketing data into Looker is a very manual process — you can either use spreadsheets or build APIs in-house (which is very resource intensive).
But products like Weld activate are simple and elegant solutions to this downside.
Tableau is a unique data visualization tool in that it has a strong focus on community.
Not only can you directly interact with other Tableau users to share support and creativity, but Tableau also hosts free virtual conferences where you can learn more about customer data analytics.
It's a popular platform for businesses of all sizes, though it's worth noting that Tableau is targeted towards leaders, analysts, and IT. You might have a hard time including other people in your business in Tableau.
Unsurprisingly, there's a Google app for data visualization as well, and it's Google Data Studio.
Like every tool that Google releases, Google Data Studio is web-based, super easy to use, free, and reliable. But, it won't have the same level of depth or simplicity that other tools can offer.
Still, if you're looking for a simple, straightforward data visualization tool, Google Data Studio meets you where you are.
We've seen many companies who are just getting off the ground start analyzing their data with Google Data Studio. As you can imagine, it connects seamlessly with Google Analytics, making basic traffic and marketing analytics a piece of cake.
Zoho Analytics is another great data visualization tool, though it's geared towards users who want to dive into all of Zoho's services. Similar to Power BI, you're going to get more out of this service if you pair it with other Zoho apps.
This customer data visualization tool is highly scalable, secure, and packed with advanced features. It uses machine learning to deliver fast insights, has an AI that you can hold a conversation with, and more.
The downside, however, is that the API connections to non-Zoho products can, at times, be unreliable. It can make reporting with external data rather cumbersome. However, if you're already in the Zoho ecosystem, this tool is a no-brainer.
Our final recommendation is Datawrapper. Datawrapper is a great data visualization tool for businesses with simple back-end data. It doesn't integrate with existing services - instead, it accepts data that is copied and pasted into it or imported through a CSV/XLS file.
Once your data has been added to this platform, you'll be able to quickly generate highly visual renderings of your data. This is Datawrapper's strength: the visualizations it produces are artistic and classy, making it valuable for B2C brands who want to share data with their audience.
Tying it all together
Data visualization tools come in all shapes and sizes, and there’s at least one that caters to every type of business on the market.
Pie charts, tables and graphs are the end-result – what your team will use to inform business decisions. But there’s an entire, critical piece to this puzzle that comes first: getting your precious customer data data into your data warehouse, modelling it, and then pushing it out into your data visualization tool of choice.
If you need help getting started with a data warehouse and data visualization, you can book a free demo with a Weld data expert today – we’ll be happy to help you.