We’ve come a long way from static powerpoint or pdf slides. Equally, users are demanding more than just excel for data preparation.
Once the analytics has been done the data needs to be displayed and made available to the users. And users are after a more dynamic experience so that they can edit and drill down into their area of interest just by clicking or dragging.
It’s better than filling in a report change request form.
We agree information can be beautiful but it also has to be useful. We’ve worked with a number of “in memory data” or “self service data” visualisation tools to get users the information they need. We seek to maximise the use of screen real estate and shy away from pie charts and gauges where possible, but if you insist they go in.
We tend to conduct most of the data clean, association and calculations in analytical tools and limit how much the data visualisation tool has to do ie let each tool do the thing it is best at.
In some cases the client does not have a separate data analytical tool so we do the above tasks in the database or visualisation tool.
Our experience with data means that we can often design and develop the initial dashboards with limited client specifications. We often simply ask the question: what would we want to know? The client can then review and provide feedback.
This approach shortens the process saving time and money. Also, as we have often worked on the upstream data we know what is possible that is in addition to the client’s expectations.
Data visualisation principles
We have our own ideas about data dashboards, for instance we like to maximise the efficiency of screen real estate (no pie charts and boiler gauges) and limit the number of clicks a user needs to get to the right data. However, we also know that this can be quite an emotive subject amongst users, so defer to their requests.
Common data tools
Qlik, PowerBI and Tableau are the software tools that we see most frequently. They have numerous benefits in this “self service” area of data visualisation allowing users flexibility whilst retaining IT data controls.
We have developed a variety of dashboards covering, regulatory reporting, client performance, price disparity analysis and geo location.
In most cases we have also automated the process from data capture, process, calculation to display
Client and Sales
“Single Client View ” is a current buzz phrase: having a consistent understanding across all systems of your clients and suppliers’ activities, pricing, payments and performance. Knowing what, where or who is profitable.
However this information can also be necessary for legal and compliance.
This also applies to client reference data: account numbers, addresses, contact details.
Risk & Regulations
CPRA’s Risk Container solution provided our client with a cutting-edge risk visualisation tool, allowing senior management to drill through from high-level summaries to granular trader level view of risk.
Regulation often creates several reporting demands, whether it is some form of risk; exposure; capital; performance or compliance with regulations. CPRA has created automated dashboards from intraday, end of day to end of month.
Finance is the baseline for everyone else, so they tend to be a reporting hub, or a data transformer and enricher for other reports.
Much of the report burden is small variations on the same theme, and often have to be created via manual interventions. Automated extraction, normlisdation and dynamic display are key to reducing this burden and waste.
Tracking the nuts and bolts of the company, whether it’s physical inventory; progress on customer or supplier orders; data lineage; customer survey data; HR analytics; customer survey data; web traffic and location data.
The above are all use cases that CPRA has addressed, some (eg customer orders) are often tied to finance data whilst others such as psychometric test scores are not. The theme is the same, allowing users to make sense of the data output and getting value from it.