Large data sets are becoming more common in every industry, from banking to healthcare. As more organizations use business intelligence (BI) and data analytics to get ahead, the amount of data they have to collect grows ever larger. It’s not enough to track a few performance metrics anymore. Big data is the new industry standard, and it’s here to stay.
What makes a data visualization dashboard effective?
They’re not the easiest tools to design from scratch. They need to display information and insights in the clearest way possible, and be interactive so that users can filter data and generate new insights. With so many factors to consider, it’s easy to get it wrong.
To help, we’ve made a series of detailed dashboard data visualization infographic examples to help you create the most efficient and user-friendly dashboards for your data. Using this guide, you’ll know precisely what goes into creating a custom dashboard for your organization’s needs.
What Does an Effective Dashboard Database Visualization Look Like?
To make a custom dashboard, you should first consider the role that dashboards play in your organization. A dashboard is an information hub that collects and displays data and visuals in one place, either on a desktop computer or a mobile device. Like other types of web and mobile applications, users can interact with the dashboard to display different types of information. For example, you can toggle between data filters to analyze the data from multiple angles.
The most effective dashboards look simple, but display very detailed information. They focus on just one area of business like mortgage production reports, commercial loan reports, or sales performance by product.
Narrowing the scope of your data visualization dashboard allows you to zero in on the insights that matter. It also makes the dashboard easier to read and use. Most organizations create multiple dashboards for every aspect of their businesses to keep their data organized and track vital metrics.
To create an attractive, informative interactive display, take a look at a few examples of effective dashboard data visualization infographics.
Examples of Dashboard Data Visualization Infographics
In the dashboard data visualization infographic below, you will see an example of an effective design layout that displays all of the information you need to identify patterns in a given dataset.
This particular dashboard focuses on mortgage loans as they relate to various demographics. Banks and lenders that use this dashboard can quickly see median loan amounts by demographic and more detailed breakdowns of loans by each dataset. This helps lenders serve their customers better and verify that they are following Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) guidelines.
What makes this dashboard effective is that it follows three simple layout rules.
#1 The Main Visual: In the top left corner of the dashboard, we created a series of bar graphs that represent median loan amounts by demographic. Even if users only glance at this visual, they will understand the overall pattern that the entire dashboard is designed to track. This visual aid works as a summary of information. When you design your own dashboard, follow this basic layout: Put the most important and informative visual at the top of the page, preferably in the top left, since that’s where users usually look first.
#2 Filters and Interactive Components: Place data filters near or at the top of the dashboard alongside the main visual. Having these options at the top of the page is important for two reasons. First, users can immediately see that they have some control over the information being displayed. It encourages them to interact with the data. Second, it makes it easier to see how each filter affects the main visual and all of the other visuals underneath it.
#3 Supporting Visuals: Place all supporting visuals underneath the data filter controls and the main visual. Supporting visuals are any charts or graphs that show detailed information about a specific aspect of the data. For example, in the dashboard data visualization infographic above, we created visuals for:
- The most common reasons why loans were denied.
- The number of applications received in each location.
- The number of applications received per race.
- The median income of loan applicants by county.
None of these visuals are comprehensive enough to be the main visual at the top of the page. They only show you part of the bigger picture. However, having them in the dashboard is still important because you can use them to generate insights, such as why certain demographics receive more mortgage approvals or denials than others. You can then improve your business products and services in response to this data.
For example, you can see that Tarrant County (the green bar in the center visual) receives a higher number of applicants than average. Using this information, you may look into why so many applicants live in this county and what you can do to increase application rates elsewhere.
Every dashboard is different. The specific visual aids that you choose for your dashboard depend on a number of factors including your business strategy and the type of data you collect. Experienced data scientists and dashboard designers can help you identify the best visuals to use.
How to Create Dashboard Data Visualizations
The main challenge of creating a dashboard is selecting the right visuals for each dataset. To do this, you must think carefully about your business strategy and the goals of the dashboard.
In the dashboard data visualization infographic above, the visuals are designed to track every aspect of HDMA guidelines, including income, race, location, and reasons for application denials. Every visual has a specific role in this process.
- Applications visual works best as a bar chart because users need to quickly see how many applications they’ve received from each county and whether this is below or above average (marked by the thin grey line).
- Applications by race visual works best as a pie chart because this makes it easy to see which groups submit the highest and lowest percentage of total applications.
- Loan denial reasons visual features boxes that vary in size and hue to signify how many applications were denied for each specific reason. In this case, you’ll see that debt-to-income ratios are the most common reasons for denial across all counties.
- Median income by race visual is shown as a heat map graph, allowing you to see which groups have the highest and lowest income in each county.
Having more than one type of visual in the dashboard makes it more engaging and helps you sift through data more effectively. However, understanding how to display each dataset or metric involves some trial and error, especially if you’re not experienced with data analytics.
This is where a knowledgeable dashboard designer can help. When you hire a data analytics firm to create custom dashboards and visuals for your business, you won’t have to guess which visual aids to use. These firms often already have basic templates that track metrics related to your industry that they adjust to fit your organization’s workflow and preferences.
They can also design a new dashboard from scratch. With experienced data scientists on staff, the firm will know exactly which types of visuals are most effective. They also have advanced data analytics and visualization tools. This is a major benefit for small businesses or those that have limited budgets, with access to the world’s best visuals at a much lower cost. Partnering with the best dashboard consultants will help you connect more strongly to your data and find solutions to your organization’s most pressing issues.
Contact Tek Leaders to design your own custom dashboard today. Our detailed and interactive dashboards harness the power of your insights and get immediate results. If you have more questions about our dashboard services, you can reach us by email directly.
Shashank Reddy Tummala.
You may have heard that Tableau is one of the best visualization software systems on the market. However, while it is indeed a powerful tool that many businesses find useful, it’s not perfect for everyone. It’s expensive, and out of the range of small organizations—especially if their IT budgets are already tight. It also takes a big chunk out of the budget of large-scale organizations, which may be better spent on other tools and resources.
Tableau isn’t the only visualization tool out there. There is other visualization software like Tableau that is not only more cost-effective, but also provides compelling visuals and detailed data analysis. There’s no need to sacrifice the quality of your visuals when you opt for one of these seven alternatives to Tableau.
What to Look for in a Tableau Alternative
There’s no doubt that Tableau is a robust visualization tool. Tableau software is powerful because:
- The standard visuals are beautiful and detailed;
- You can drag-and-drop to create visuals in moments;
- Data is filtered and normalized;
- Users can share visuals, dashboards, and reports;
- It supports desktop and mobile applications;
- You can generate data notifications and comment on dashboards;
- The software imports and visualizes large sets of data from multiple sources;
- Dashboards are intelligent and interactive;
- User authorizations and permissions improve data security; and more.
However, other visualization tools like Tableau have many of these same features–some even have all of them. Before you invest in a Tableau license, ask yourself the following questions:
1.Can I get the features and support I need from another software vendor?
It’s important to think about the tools you’ll actually use when you purchase a software license. Don’t get distracted by extra bells and whistles or you’ll end up paying for features that ultimately go to waste.
For example, Tableau can process very large amounts of data, but if your organization only needs to handle small data sets at a time, then this feature isn’t really essential. Make a list of all of the features your organization truly needs and eliminate any software that can’t perform those tasks.
2.Is Tableau more expensive than my other options?
The cost of a Tableau license depends on the plan you choose.
- Tableau Viewer plans cost $12 per user per month and only allow you to view and interact with visuals.
- Tableau Explorer plans cost $35 per user per month and allow you to view visuals as well as edit and publish new workbooks and manage user profiles.
- Tableau Creator plans cost $70 per user per month and include all of the software’s features. You have control over every aspect of the visual creation and sharing process.
These are only the on-premise or public cloud plans. If you want your content to be fully-hosted by Tableau and accessible online, some of the plans cost slightly more:
- Tableau Viewer costs $15 per user per month.
- Tableau Explorer costs $42 per user per month.
- Tableau Creator costs $70 per user per month.
To estimate how much a Tableau license will cost, tally up how many users you will have under each plan. It’s important to note that all of these plans require your organization to have at least one Tableau Creator account, so you should factor this into your budget.
Compare this number to offers from other vendors of visualization software like Tableau. You may find that it is cheaper to go with a Tableau alternative, particularly if you have a large staff or if multiple users need to access the visuals.
With these criteria in mind, take a look at the seven most popular Tableau alternatives below and consider whether they’re a better choice for your organization.
Other Visualization Software Like Tableau
If you’re looking for visualization software like Tableau, you’ll find many options. However, there are seven systems that are particularly powerful and quite similar to Tableau in terms of what they can do for your organization. They are:
- Microsoft Power BI: At a lower cost, Power BI allows you to create equally beautiful visuals and interactive dashboards. It is also more customizable than Tableau.
- Qlik View: If your team already has a data science background, this software enables you to compile data, upload it into an interactive dashboard, and model trends. However, it’s too complex for beginners.
- Oracle BI: Supports in-memory processing and multiple data sources. You can also choose between on-premise or cloud-based systems. Its main drawback is that its visualizations are not as detailed or customizable as the other options on this list.
- Sisense: A user-friendly software that recommends visualizations based on the data presented and the organization’s needs. However, it’s not as scalable as some of the other options on this list and users don’t have full control over the security of their data.
- SAS Business Intelligence and Analytics: From the dashboard view, users can embed charts, images, or video and collaborate on their colleagues’ projects. That said, the visuals are not as visually-appealing or robust as those offered in Power BI or Tableau.
- IBM Cognos: A self-service business intelligence software that allows you to create reports. The system is very customizable and interactive. It’s primarily used for businesses to track inventory and make decisions in real time. The downside is that there is a steep learning curve.
- Custom interactive dashboards: Hiring an IT services firm to build a custom visualization dashboard from scratch is another alternative to Tableau. The cost is often on par with purchasing a software license. You also won’t have to train your staff on how to use the system because the firm will handle all of the details for you. Additionally, you’ll get access to every feature you need and won’t pay for features you’ll never use.
You’re by no means limited to these seven choices. These are simply some of the most popular and best-supported software systems on the market today. The software you choose ultimately depends on your organization’s infrastructure, visualization requirements, and budget.
Choosing the Best Software for Your Business
If you’re unsure whether you should purchase a Tableau license or opt for alternative visualization software, consider the size of your organization. Generally, Tableau is best for organizations that have a small staff and need to generate basic visuals quickly.
If you have a larger staff, a limited IT budget, or require more detailed data analysis, then Tableau is likely not the best choice for your organization. The software doesn’t scale up very well; it could cost your organization many thousands of dollars per year to invest in multiple Explorer and Viewer licenses.
Additionally, Tableau’s visuals are not as customizable as ones offered from other vendors, like an IT services firm or Power BI. This is a problem if you need to analyze a great deal of data or perform exploratory data analysis to decide on your next business strategy.
If you want a scalable system that enables you to generate stunning visuals, you should hire an IT services firm to build a custom platform for your organization. Unlike Tableau, which charges per user, a custom platform can be accessed by all of your team members at any time. The price is also adjusted based on the features you want. For a predictable monthly fee, you’ll have access to all of your data and visuals. You’ll also get a custom interactive dashboard that makes it easy for your staff to generate new visuals, no matter how much previous experience they have with data or reports.
So, while Tableau is an excellent tool for very small teams to generate visualizations fast, it’s not necessarily the best tool for every business or situation. By weighing all of your options and getting quotes from multiple vendors, you’ll make a more informed decision.
To get a free custom visualization quote, contact Tek Leaders. We take into account your organization’s specific needs to offer competitive pricing on custom dashboard systems. Our team will take a close look at your staff’s workflows and the type of data analysis you wish to perform in order to create a system that blends seamlessly into your enterprise. If you have more questions about our pricing structure and visualization services, you can reach us by email directly.
Shashank Reddy Tummala.
Standard vs. Custom Visualization SoftwareThere’s a huge difference between standard and custom visualization software. Standard software provides a list of visual aids and basic templates that financial institutions can use to display data and generate reports. Microsoft’s Power BI, Sisense, and Tableau are examples of standard visualization software. Each software includes different visual aids, tools, and templates. Some standard visuals are very complex, while others are simpler and designed to be easily understood at a glance. However, standard visualization software is limited by what the developers build into the system. If you can’t find what you need in the standard templates or software add-ons, then you’ll have to make do with the options you have. Custom visualization software gives you far more flexibility. A custom system often includes all of the visuals and templates that you get in standard visualization software, but it also provides in-depth visual aids that are tailored specifically to your institution. Rather than buying a single software license and making your own visuals, you can hire a custom visualization software provider to take care of the process for you. Which option is best for your business, a standard software license or custom visualization software? It depends on your current needs and business strategy. While some institutions are satisfied with the standard visualization options, others require much more detailed options.
Should You Go Custom?Financial institutions really benefit from custom visualization software. That’s because financial services are heavily data-driven. Banks must assess loan risk, track payments, analyze loan officer performance, and flag delinquent loans—and perform many, many more types of monitoring and analysis. While some standard visualization software tools have templates for these types of calculations, it’s often difficult to put together a full picture in one detailed report. You have to find the visual tools you need, upload the data, and adjust the look of the visual to make your findings as clear as possible. Then you have to display multiple visuals in one place without crowding the page or confusing your audience. You may also need different visuals and reports to interact with each other. All of these steps are much easier with a custom visualization dashboard. You simply tell the provider what you want and their team of developers will create all of the visual tools and dashboard options you need. You can tell the provider that you want to analyze how well your mortgage loan officers are performing so far this year. They will make a detailed business intelligence report that displays everything from a map showing total loan amounts by county to line graphs showing whether individual loan officers are meeting their quotas. They can also make the report interactive. With the click of a button, you can filter all of this information by individual loan officers or counties. Some of the main benefits of going custom are:
- More detailed and accurate visuals: Data scientists and visualization experts know which visual aids best express certain patterns in data sets. They’ll choose the right one for what you need to show.
- Scalability: You can add new features to the dashboard quickly. You can also eliminate visuals that are too confusing or that your stakeholders don’t find very useful.
- Cost: You only pay for what you actually use. The custom visualization software provider charges you a monthly fee and in return you get all of the features you requested on a user-friendly dashboard.
- Ease of use: The dashboards are intuitive and designed around your staff’s workflows. There’s no training required and you don’t need any background knowledge in data science or visuals.
- It’s made for the financial industry: Unlike standard tools that are designed to address a wide range of user needs, a custom dashboard focuses only on the best visual aids for financial reporting. Custom providers truly understand the industry, including the need for tight security and data governance.
- It’s made for your business: The best custom software providers include special details like dashboards that match your business’ official color scheme or logo. This makes your reports look more professional.
How to Get Custom Visualization SoftwareOnce you’ve decided to go custom, you’ll need to select a provider that offers the most comprehensive services. First, research providers that have previous experience designing visual aids for financial institutions. Banks, credit unions, and lenders require in-depth data analysis and visualizations, so the service provider must be capable and familiar with the industry’s best practices. Next, look at a few samples of dashboards and reports that the provider offers. For example, Tek Leaders has custom visualizations for:
- Top N loans
- Mortgage production reports
- Loan exception reports by officer
- New loans and renewals
- Loan breakdown by demographic and location
- Delinquent commercial loans
- Commercial loan reports
- And more
Microsoft’s Power BI is one of the most powerful visualization tools available at any price. That’s mainly because it offers so many customization options. Power BI custom visuals can display your data in ways you never thought possible.
This selection guide will introduce you to ten Power BI custom visuals that are particularly impressive. This is just a small taste, but it proves how diverse and comprehensive this software is. Seeing these visual aids may even inspire you to create your own custom visuals and gain more insight into your data.
What Are Power BI Custom Visuals?
There’s a huge difference between standard and custom visualization software.
Power BI custom visuals are made by Power BI users and shared with others. The software already provides you with many standard visualizations that allow you to look at your data from different perspectives. However, custom visuals expand on these offerings. Essentially, if users can’t find what they need in the standard options, they are free to make their own.
To use a custom visual, you can browse the Microsoft AppSource or Integrated Office Store and find one that fits your needs. You simply download the file (if you’re on Microsoft AppSource) or select it from the Integrated Office Store. The benefit of downloading visualizations from Microsoft AppSource is that you can see a description of how the tool is used before you start using it yourself.
There are two types of Power BI custom visuals:
- Uncertified visuals are created by users but have not been reviewed by Microsoft. These aren’t always high in quality. The majority of custom visuals are uncertified, so you may still find a diamond in the rough.
- Certified visuals have been reviewed and officially approved by Microsoft. These visuals are not only high in quality, but they also meet strict security standards and support other options, like integration with other Microsoft software.
You don’t have to use certified visuals exclusively. However, if you work with sensitive data or wish to present your data to shareholders, this is the most recommended option. These visuals look professional and offer you additional support, including tutorials and troubleshooting.
Below, we’ve put together a short list of some of our favorite Power BI custom visuals that take data analysis to the next level.
The Best Power BI Custom Visuals
There are ten Power BI custom visuals that many users rate highly. They are:
- Dot Plot by Maq Software: Some of the best custom visuals take a standard Power BI offering and expand on it. Dot Plot is a bubble chart that offers a greater number of dimension columns (four) as well as three axis fields. You also have more control over the appearance of the chart, including stacked axis and vertical or horizontal orientation.
- Breakdown Trees: This visual displays information from least complex to most complex. On the left, it displays basic information such as dates; on the right, it displays more detailed data such as sales figures. It also shows which data points are directly connected.
- Impact Bubble Chart: In standard bubble charts, you can select the size of the bubbles and place them on the x-axis and y-axis. With Impact Bubble Chart, you can also change the color of the bubble based on the data. Higher numbers are deeper in color, while lower numbers appear less saturated.
- Tadpole Spark Grid by Angry Koala: This visual aid shows the most recent figures in thick, dark lines on a standard grid. It also color-codes the lines based on the data. Black lines stand for increases and red lines stand for decreases. This is helpful because you can see changes easily, particularly recent ones.
- Synoptic Panel by SQLBI: This complex visual tool colors areas of any image based on the data provided. For example, if you have a map of sales figures by territory in a state, it will color each area based on these numbers.
- Hexbin Scatterplot: This is similar to the Impact Bubble Chart. It colors each area based on the data. However, the visual aid uses hexagons to group points on the plot. If there are many points in one area of the plot, the hexagon will appear darker.
- Advanced Time-Slicer BrushChart by Cambridge Technology Partners Team: This tool allows you to look at data from very short periods of time. You can zoom in on certain timeframes for a more detailed view.
- Power KPI Matrix: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are displayed in rows and columns based on category. All of your operational figures are grouped in one spot, making it easier to analyze this specific data set.
- Chord Diagram: This is one of the most visually-appealing tools. The Chord Diagram compares data based on two attributes and uses color to differentiate between each data set. You can look at multiple products in your line and see which products have mainstream appeal vs. products that have small market appeal.
- RadarChart: This compares two different data sets on a radar chart. For example, you can see the areas in which a staff member excels as well as weak points. You can also compare this performance to average company-wide performance results.
This list is not comprehensive. There are many other incredible Power BI custom visuals that you can use to understand your data and make better decisions.
How to Explore Power BI Custom Visuals
With so many Power BI custom visuals to choose from, selecting just one isn’t an easy decision. You could spend hours browsing the AppSource for new tools.
The best way to explore Power BI is by enlisting the help of Power BI experts. They know which standard visuals are most effective, and are familiar with the latest custom visuals. Some of these experts also create custom visuals for clients based on specific needs. If you need to display your data in a certain way but none of the visuals on the market can do it, you can get one crafted from scratch just for your organization.
Power BI’s standard visuals are fantastic, but they aren’t always designed with your specific business in mind. By embracing Power BI custom visuals and getting advice from data scientists, you’ll make detailed data reports that are as informative as they are beautiful.
To learn more about Power BI custom visuals, contact Tek Leaders today. Our team specializes in creating detailed visualizations for our clients and can help you identify the most useful visual aids for your needs. If you have more questions about the tools and services we offer, you can reach us by email directly.
Shashank Reddy Tummala.
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