Exploratory Data Analysis Part 2: Helping You Make Better Decisions

In my first post on exploratory data analysis (EDA), I discussed why it’s important to get a “sense” for the data you’re working with before applying analytical techniques that may come with critical assumptions and prerequisites.

In this post, I’ll expand on the concepts I discussed in that post and also examine some other exploratory techniques. The goal is to make you familiar with various forms of data analysis so you can use them to make the right decisions for your organization.

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Practical Analysis: Understanding Visualization Concepts

We humans like pictures. We’re wired to process images quickly and effectively.

The evolution of those capabilities over thousands of years has allowed us to survive by detecting and evading predators, finding forage, and excelling as predators ourselves. To support these activities and others, the image processing capabilities of our brains have become especially adept at distinguishing basic shapes, such as lines, circles and various polygons, as a precursor to fully comprehending what the actual imagery represents.

We are also capable of understanding complex concepts, abstractions and relationships. But not all of us are created equal in that respect – at least judging from the distribution of scores on the math component of college prep exams! But even the savants among us reach a limit as the volume of data and complexity of problems become intractable to the human mind.

And though we may differ in our analytical abilities, we do seem to share one thing: our ability to reason visually plays an important role in our problem solving. Let’s examine this in the latest “Practical Analysis” blog post. (more…)

Finding Higher Ed Success with Data through Dashboard Visualization

Higher ed dashboard

You only get one chance to make a first impression. Sound advice for socialization, sure, but it can also apply to the world of higher ed. (Beyond the chats at the water cooler, that is.) It is advice that might be heeded during a professor’s first class of the semester…or maybe even the first few minutes of every lesson that professor is teaching.

But it can also be applicable to the technology an institution of higher education is using. Many colleges and universities are increasingly using data for a number of purposes – to increase retention, to identify and help struggling students, or to make processes more efficient, to name just a few. A data dashboard can help or hinder the analytics process. It is the first impression a user gets with the data, and if it is too clumsy to navigate, a user might not come back to work with the data in a meaningful way. If it is easy to use, it could benefit everyone in the community. Here is some advice about how to find success with dashboards, and what makes a good dashboard in the first place. (more…)

How Analytics Can Help During Flu Outbreaks

Flu outbreak. Young girls using paper tissues while being sick

Every year, thousands of children are hospitalized because of the flu; several dozen to more than 100 children die each year from complications.

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It’s important for health providers not only to know which children need to be vaccinated, but also to understand where there are flu outbreaks and how they might need to readjust their staffing to deal with surges in flu patients. How can they do so? Let’s take a look. (more…)

How You Can Better Visualize Your Data

coloring pencils, visualize dataIf you think about it for a moment, the purpose of visualizations is to communicate information effectively. And you want to do that in ways that brings out patterns and trends that can’t be seen just by looking at tables of numbers. Ideally, this is going to be something that is aesthetically pleasing. You can have a positive emotional response when you look at some of these displays and engage users more, so they are willing to really dig in to analyze data.

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In this article, we’ll review some of Dimensional Insight’s Chart portlet visualizations in order to illustrate a wide variety of ways to visualize data. I think you’ll see that with all of the options available, it is easy to communicate information in a way that is both effective and pleasing to the eye. (more…)

Four Lessons from Florence Nightingale, the Mother of HC Analytics

Florence Nightingale - mother of modern healthcare analyticsHealthcare analytics. Data visualization. Population health. Buzz continues to build around these terms as we look ahead to 2018. But looking back, we find a surprising figure at the root of all three: Florence Nightingale.

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Florence Nightingale, the mother of modern nursing, was also arguably the mother of healthcare analytics. She was a trailblazer in using statistics to identify preventable conditions that affect mortality and a master of data visualization. Her story has powerful lessons for today’s analysts. Here are four. (more…)

Holiday Wish List for the Beverage Alcohol Industry

wish list2017 was a busy and tumultuous year for the beverage alcohol industry, especially those who were affected by the wildfires in California. This year also brought many company mergers and consolidations, continuing an ongoing trend in the industry.

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What’s clear as we head into 2018 is that technology and analytics are becoming even more important than ever, and it’s important for the beverage alcohol industry to adopt tools that will lead to improved efficiency, increased productivity, and more revenue. With that in mind (and since the holidays are on our minds), I created a holiday wish list for better business intelligence and analytics in the beverage alcohol industry. (more…)

How to Harness the Power of Pictures in Analytics

As an analyst, you can perform the most sophisticated analysis and draw the most compelling conclusions, but without a way to share these with others, your hard work stays with you. So how to best communicate when it comes to quantitative data? In a nutshell: words and pictures.

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In this blog, we offer practical suggestions on how to tell compelling stories through data visualization. (more…)

Learn about Chart Portlet and the Future of Dimensional Insight Visualizations

chartlet portal on desktopDo you need to compare periodic sales data across different regions or different products to inform and support your sales team? You have the data, but you need to quickly turn it into easily consumable, visual presentations. Enter DivePort’s powerful chart portlet where you can produce and edit a multitude of visualizations without context switching as you customize your dashboard.

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The chart portlet is one of DivePort’s newest features. It was designed to be the main visualization tool for Spectre data in DivePort 7. However, you don’t need Spectre data to take advantage of the new chart portlet. Most of the features are compatible with models and marker files, too.

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How to Use Map Portlet to Visualize Geographic Data

color coded map of the worldEveryone knows the old adage, “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” How true this is, too, for data represented geographically! Maps provide an intuitive way to compare data across various regions turning tabular data into easily interpreted visual information.

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Available in Dimensional Insight’s Diver Platform 7.0.26 and later, the map portlet is redesigned with a configuration wizard, graphical user interface, and significant new functionality to make it easy to integrate geographically represented data on your dashboards. (more…)