About 90% of all information that people remember are based on visual impact. However, not all visual representations succeed. Visuals that trump textual information by tenfold are that which is presented clearly, and where the prominence is given to elements that convey relevant facts. Infographics are effective visual representations that can convey complex information quickly and clearly, in a visually appealing way.
The power of infographics vis-à-vis other visual representation stems from its unmatched flexibility. It is possible to include just about anything – charts, graphs, images, maps, pictograms, tables, or anything else inside an infographic to get the point across. In fact, it is even possible to add as much text as required. On their own, text or graphics are both useful yet have serious limitations in conveying the required information. Written language allows infinite number of word combinations for deep analysis, but requires deep mental ability from the reader to process that information. Different types of graphics make it easier for the reader to comprehend the message, but such mediums cannot convey abstract and complicated concepts effectively. Combining text and different types of graphics, as infographics allow, makes it possible to leverage the inherent strengths of each medium to get the message across.
Apart from this advantage, there are FIVE critical reasons why Infographics in BI is no longer a “good to have” option, but a “must do”.
- 1. The utility of business intelligence (BI) derives from making dry figures accessible and useful to managers and others within an enterprise. In this, the biggest stumbling block is the copious amount of text and figures that invariably accompany BI. Infographics is a perfect delivery vehicle for BI. The consumer of the infographic may easily digest the information in a highly engaging way without having to read too much text or crunch figures.
- 2. A big reason why rank-and-file employees shun BI, despite being aware of its potential, is due to the complexity of a BI tool. Statistics and numbers, common in BI, can overwhelm many audiences, and in many instances, only employees with a fair knowledge of such statistics and other analytical methods would be able to derive meaningful insights from BI. Infographics offer the ability to deliver context-specific visual images, rather than confusing, complex graphs and reports. Through them, it becomes possible to communicate critical business metrics in a simple, yet powerful way.
- 3. Business data tend to be complex, with many variables, much of it interconnected. In such instances, it may be difficult to express comparisons through a single medium, be it words, charts, or graphs. Infographics help in organizing similarities and differences by visually creating parallels that complement the information being presented.
- 4. Most BI applications require motion graphics, since the values keep constantly changing, and many different ideas, elements, and factors are at play. The most convenient way to factor this is by integrating dashboards & infographics. Infographics facilitate the use of multiple graphics in the same pane, and selecting the best visuals for the purpose. Directly linking the infographic to data helps to reflect changes in real time, making it ideal for applications such as call center dashboards.
- 5. Most users of BI require the ability to extract the required data from available sources to generate their own output. Relying upon data scientists to offer them readymade conclusions based on pre-determined variables or time periods would not allow them to do their job. The integration of dashboards & infographics allow users to mash up data from various sources and collaborate throughout the decision making process.
The question then arises as how to feed data into the infographics? Options include adding a drag and drop user interface, a custom system in-built dashboards, and open database connectivity. All these options make the BI system a truly engaging one in its own right.
Information overload is a big problem for most people, and more so for business managers and executives who have to cull the most relevant and useful information from the tons that they sift through. Infographics offers a powerful medium to retain the information they require.
Have you faced issues on how to deliver BI analysis to the audience? Have you used infographics to enhance your data analysis? Do share your experience with us, we would love to hear from you.