TechnoVision 2016 – Now You See Me


Ron Tolido

December 9, 2015

Such big data, so little time. The more we create, the harder it is to deliver real value against the changing needs of both the organization and the marketplace. With time, the context of data often changes. To understand and manage this change, we must understand our business and its data better. Increasingly, this is not just the realm of data science, but that of digital visualization. When we combine staggering visualization technology with sound business strategy and orchestrate the right and left sides of our brain, we start to see. Our visual story becomes insight, then action, and finally business value.

Thriving On Data #3 – Now You See Me

The main issue with data is that it’s simply not accessible to everyday business people as it’s difficult to understand, adapt, and exploit as a result of its increasing isolation from ‘business as usual’ activities. To bridge this widening context gap, we need to embrace data visualization and embed its benefits into the operational fabric of our business. By doing this we can deliver intelligence, which is ‘to the point’, insulated from underlying IT complexity, instantly consumable at the point of action, and instinctive in its application.

This is when real value is created from data.

Acquisition, marshaling, and increasingly pre-analysis of data is now a commodity. ‘Big Data’ technology, Cloud foundries, and the emerging field of cognitive computing are accelerating real-time data insight as vendortechnologies exceed the mainstream tipping point. Despite this, typical Big Data approaches are wedded to corporate data complexity and divorced from business reality.

The journey to enlightenment remains shrouded behind a veil of PhD statisticians and CXO command-and-control mentality. What’s more, business users are dissatisfied due to enterprise inability to deliver meaningful and adaptive insight. Maybe the data artist is the data relationship-counselor that can bring business and IT together using common language. To improve your corporate data relationship, think infographics, accessible visualization, interactive presentation technology, usable metrics, and wearable devices as crucial elements of your evolving digital palette.

If we believe that a ‘picture paints a thousand words’ and that data science and data art are equal partners in Big Data success, what are the next steps?

Visualization tools are also making the jobs of Business super user and data scientists easier. Network visualization allows business super user to look at data relationships in a whole new way. Data Scientist now also use visualization to decrease the time they spend exploring and understanding data

1. Expand your data toolkit with infographics and visualization tools

From to, through piktochart to and quid, we need to progressively simplify accessible visual metaphor technology. Vendors like Tableau or SAS with their Visual Analytics tools are just two mainstream examples of tools that enable business users to become data artists. Visualizations in Open source tools like Shiny for R are also presenting information in a whole new light and making information more palatable to decision makers. Make data an ‘Object Of Desire’ and it’s more readily consumed.  In an attempt to make information even more accessible to business users, Watson Analytics allows the user to ask questions in natural language, applying increasingly powerful cognitive systems.

2. Adopt non-linear, intelligent presentation approaches

Armed with a ‘Dan Roam’ mentality and your printed linear slide decks consigned to the waste bin, try out Cloud-based visual presentation technologies such as Haiku Deck, and Slideshare to consolidate your ideas using visual, data-driven, dynamic, and non-linear approaches.

3. Embrace usable metrics

Take progressive action to ensure your reports and visualizations focus on a small, but perfectly balanced set of metrics through which you can easily monitor the development of your business accurately and, of course, incrementally.

4. Get physical to accelerate context

Microsoft’s Band and especially HoloLens, Apple Watch and Oculus Rift are the early birds in the technology migration to ‘surroundable data context’. These technologies have the potential to inject meaningful personalization at each point of business and channel interaction. In addition, as we ‘swear by wearables’, development frameworks such as Android Wear live and breathe visual thinking. With only a few square inches of screen real estate, we have to make the information count and therefore put ‘actionable context’ before detailed narrative.

5. See the bigger picture

When looking at the overarching TechnoVision framework, we begin to see that Thriving On Data is a collaboration across all digital building blocks. It cannot stand alone. The reverse is also true as we can only deliver actionable data if we truly embrace the ethos of ‘Process on the Fly’ and, we can only easily visualize a complex story if we adopt a ‘You Experience’ and mobile design philosophy in parallel.

Visualization is also becoming critical where location and layouts are critical to understanding the data.  Overlaying  footfall and customer movement data on store layout map gives critical insights to store managers. There are niche service providers like Prism SkyLabs are using color coded data visualizations to turn the store layout into an analytics narrative; and are providing insights at the point of customer decision making.  If these were just data points without the layout visualization, it would be difficult for business users to appreciate the insights.  Imagine if Uber just gave you a listing of available cabs and distances without the map and route overlay!

To deliver data context we have to consider our business transactions as visual stories. While data science may provide the corporate data pump, data visualization delivers the organizational smart-meter, ensuring the right information is delivered efficiently into the hands of right person in the right format at the right time with ‘a la mode’ perspective.

Still looking for inspiration? Consider leading-edge examples of digital dashboards like the SAP-Hana powered McLaren Formula 1 racing dashboard, digitally create your Youniverse personality, and understand the pulse of Amsterdam in these stunning examples.

Then, expose your innerdigital-Van Gogh by consuming the perfection of simple visual design on the Information is Beautiful blog to add color to your evolving data artist palette.

If we have continuous and actionable insight, we’ll not only understand the situation, we’ll see the next-best course of action immediately. This could be a real epiphany as our data speaks in a language we can understand, morphs as our needs dictate, and finally becomes the ultimate driver to our ongoing Digital Transformation journey.

Value from data: not an illusion. Real.

Expert: Mamatha Upadhyaya  

Part of Capgemini’s TechnoVision 2016 update series. See the overview here.


This article was written by Ron Tolido from CapGemini: CTO Blog and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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