One of the largest challenges organizations face with the emergence of big data has been the inability to make sense of it all. Data visualization tools can help your organization efficiently uncover trends and share valuable insights.
With the growing demand for actionable insights and efficient data consumption, many different data visualization tools and platforms such as Google Data Studio, Domo, and Tableau have emerged in the marketplace. When deciding which visualization tool to adopt at your organization, don’t get overwhelmed by the plethora of features, but focus instead on how to best support the needs of your business users.
At MaassMedia, we understand that reports and dashboards are not adopted by decision makers when they don’t convey a story quickly and easily. Each tool offers strengths that are unique to organizational needs, but there are also tools that we have discovered to be best based on integration, usability, cost, and visualization. We’ve put together a vendor comparison of the most popular data visualization tools based on multiple key factors that any organization should consider.
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***Note: My considerations were based on personal experience using these tools with organizations in multiple verticals for a variety of user groups, as well as industry research. MaassMedia is vendor neutral, and our work is a balance of enhancing the tools that our clients already have in place along with making recommendations and evaluations for new tools to be implemented.***
Decision Makers: Domo – Domo is a very intuitive tool for basic visualizations and metrics. You can create dashboards by building individual cards, select a specific data set, and see a pre-designed visualization. The layout and interface are easy to understand, and it offers robust data integrations if you really want to dig in. Additionally, Domo offers a variety of ways to manipulate data through custom ETL tools which allow for the direct injection of sql queries into your projects. We have found the tool to be best suited for Marketers, Executives, Content Managers, and those looking to make business decisions.
Analysts: Tableau – Tableau is the “Cadillac” when it comes to visualization capabilities and is more than a viable option for analysts looking to create custom visualizations. While there is a slight learning curve, Tableau will enable you to build detailed dashboards and reports with interactivity, create custom metrics, or quickly change visualizations with drag and drop functionality. Tableau helps analysts emphasize insights and tell a story with data.
Data Scientists: Looker – Made for the data scientist, Looker has a data modeling layer where you can merge, reshape, and cleanse your data. Looker integrates well with your existing data science workflow and allows you to visualize and share findings from more complex data sets. The tool automatically writes SQL so you can easily define custom metrics and calculations. Looker ultimately makes it easy to pull in the data you’ve curated to visualize.
Here are some of the unique capabilities and advantages of some of our other favorite visualization tools:
Microsoft Power BI – Excel will forever be king, and Microsoft Power BI knows it. With seamless Excel integration, Power BI is a great tool for data analysts looking for simple integration and visualization. Power BI gives users the ability to aggregate data from multiple sources.
Google Data Studio – With unlimited free reports and a wide range of API connections such as Adwords and YouTube, Google Data Studio is a viable option for analysts looking to incorporate advanced custom metrics in dashboards.
Microsoft Excel – The father of data visualization, Excel is easy to use and a tool that a large majority of organizations will continue to work with. It includes multiple API connections to a wide range of tools so you can integrate data from multiple sources.
Sweetspot – Sweetspot is a dashboard and visualization tool designed for marketers. It comes with ready-made dashboards that reflect the most important KPIs for many different industries. Additionally, it has direct API connections with social media advertising platforms, Google Analytics, and more making it easy to blend and analyze data.
Datorama – Datorama assembles your data in one place. This tool is powered by AI and allows you to report on multiple channels, create custom dashboards, and glean valuable insights all in a centralized location.
Qlik Sense – Qlik Sense is for decision makers looking to generate personalized reports and custom dashboards. It enables users to work with large data sets and integrate that data across a number of sources. Qlik Sense makes it easy for users to drill down and discover essential improvement strategies.
Finding the tool that best fits your business needs can be challenging. Often it requires experimentation that can be costly. Evaluations like ours can give insight into the tools that work best for you. I am also always open and available to discuss vendor selection and how to get the most out of your visualization platforms to drive your decision making.