Gain Skills in Information Visualization and Dashboarding

As the business world drowns in a sea of data, decision-makers are scrambling to reward those who can use it to improve business processes, customer retention and service, and ultimately benefit the bottom line. The trend helps explain why data analytics pursuits are gaining traction among those seeking career advancement, with universities adding niche MBAs like the University of Southern Indiana’s online Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Data Analytics.

Information Visualization

So, how do you make sense of the massive amounts of data created daily and make it work for your business?

Data visualization — or presenting data in a picture or graphic format — is one way to boil down complex data so stakeholders can understand it. Information Visualization and Dashboarding is one of three data analytics courses required in the USI online MBA with a concentration in Data Analytics. Completing this course equips students with the ability to tell stories with data by applying best practices for visualizing data and designing dashboards.

There are some important principles when it comes to any data visualization.

The most important is to know what you want to say and who that message is intended for, keeping in mind that different audiences have different needs. An Oracle Data Science blog explains: “For instance, a chief financial officer and a sales manager will have different ways of understanding profitability on a probability dashboard, so it’s important to make sure that you’re answering the question from the appropriate perspective.”

Storytelling With Data

Data — a collection of numbers — by itself can be overwhelming. Illustrate it with a meaningful chart or graph, however, and it can open doors to understanding. An essential skill gained in the Information Visualization and Dashboarding course is storytelling with data.

According to Forbes, any great story has two important attributes: visualization and detail. Those same attributes help big data tell a story that can lead to successful marketing campaigns or customer satisfaction and retention, for instance.

The visualization can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to make it. Research shows audiences prefer visuals over numbers in a presentation and will remember the information better if it is a graphic.

“However, don’t turn it into an art project — don’t lose sight of the information and analytics,” the Forbes article suggests, adding that keeping it simple provides the most impact, be it for stakeholders or customers.

What Is a Data Dashboard?

Another key skill gained in the Information Visualization and Dashboarding course is the use and development of dashboards. It is one the most common types of data visualization tools, providing snapshots of a company’s performance across key indicators.

The course teaches students new skills including use of the data visualization software Tableau. Widely used in the business world, Tableau helps simplify raw data into an easily understandable format. Even non-technical users can create customized dashboards, freeing up time for analyzing and interpreting the data rather than wrangling code.

“Data analysis and interpretation” is a sought-after skill in MBA hires, with nearly a third of employers (32%) calling it most important, after “problem solving” and “working with others,” says a 2019 GMAC survey. Completing the coursework in USI’s data analytics MBA program equips graduates with this skill alongside foundational knowledge and skills from the core business curriculum.

Learn more about USI’s online MBA program with a concentration in Data Analytics.


Oracle Data Science Blog: 5 Best Practices for Data Visualization

Forbes: Data Visualization: How to Tell A Story With Data

Graduate Management Admission Council: Corporate Recruiters Survey 2019

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