From Data Visualization to Visual Analytics

In the last few years, two key factors have dramatically changed the approach analysts have towards data exploration and analysis:

  • Available data volumes have exponentially increased, as they have been fed from additional, massive sources of new and complex information such as the search engines and social media environments, and
  • Business analysts have introduced new systematic approaches to the process of decision making across the organization, emphasizing in questions such as “why” and “what next”, as opposed to the simpler “what” and “who”, answered by contemporary Business Intelligence tools.

This convergence of data and analysis is ushering in a new business analytics model that also redefines the functional specifications supporting tools must possess, so as to answer within split seconds questions that lead to mission critical decisions. Business Analytics, a term that eloquently describes this new paradigm, are largely based on the most recent advances in the Information Visualization and the Human-Computer Interaction areas. Visual Interactive Analytics Platforms, such as TIBCO Spotfire, SAS, IBM and others, constitute tate-of-the-art frameworks that drive data exploration to a completely new level in terms of usability, accuracy and on time delivery of answers.