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Deriving true insight from data

Advanced visualisation is more about the message than the technology. Data without context is bits and bytes with enormous potential.
Frans Vermaak, MD of Praesignis
Frans Vermaak, MD of Praesignis
So says Frans Vermaak, MD of Praesignis, who will be presenting on advanced visualisation, at the ITWeb Business Intelligence Summit to be held on 14 and 15 March, at The Forum in Bryanston.

"Visualisation is a powerful way of conveying a message, so that humans can derive the true insight of what the data has to offer. To do this you need technology, in most cases, as well as techniques, skills and understanding. Humans think in pictures. This is the purpose of data visualisation."

Speaking of how data visualisation can benefit the business, Vermaak says the best visualisations are a culmination of many aspects. "This means considering the audience, technology, subject matter, data aspects, developer's skills and the intended message or insight."

He says when everything comes together, business users will really understand their business. "Business users will be able to analyse and come to new insights without the involvement of a large IT team, and will then be able to share these insights and knowledge with other individuals to improve performance and efficiencies."

When asked what businesses are doing wrong in terms of visualisation, Vermaak says many organisations do not realise the value and power of visualisation. "Many businesses go to traditional BI tools to display data in charts and graphs. This is not advanced visualisation. Using multiple pie charts to show values of dimensional data, causes more confusion and doubt that creating any clarity for decision-taking."

He says if a business user does not understand the message being conveyed by the graph or dashboard, they may doubt that the content is accurate or worse, doubt the entire message.

In addition, many organisations do not differentiate between their user community's skill levels, individual requirements, personality and impact. "Companies should not default back to what they know or what is already installed. The value of productive business users, far outweighs the costs of implementation when more people take good decisions."

Delegates attending Vermaak's presentation will get a better understanding of where visual analytics fit within the bigger BI, analytics and data science fields. They will also gain awareness of the trending products and their application in business.

This article originally appeared on

2 Mar 2017 14:58


About the author

Kirsten Doyle is an ITWeb contributor.