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Data Visualization provides rapid insights

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“We want to make data work for everyone,” said Ben Schein, VP of data curiosity for Domo, “not just analysts or data scientists, but make it part of everyone’s life.” For Domo, this includes allowing insights from anywhere, so Domo works seamlessly on mobile devices and has a feature called Domo Everywhere that lets customers share data insights with third parties such as vendors or partners. “Domo provides data ingestion, integration, cleansing, and sharing in a secure, governed manner,” added Schein, “but also is easy to deploy. Users can be looking at visualizations within a matter of weeks.”

In addition to making data easier to understand, visualiza- tions also allow for more exploration. “Users can be much more interactive with visualizations,” said Schein. “They can click and see the underlying data, or make a note that triggers a workflow, or integrates it with an existing workflow.” Domo is also flexible in the level of code it can adapt to—high code, low code, or no code. For companies that want to develop their own applications, Domo has a full software developers’ kit (SDK). It can also integrate with JupyterLab’s Notebook, a development environment for workflows in data science and machine learning, among other things. However, the built-in functions allow it to be used out of the box by less technical users.

Visualization ecosystem

Wayfair is a popular online furniture and home goods store that has a culture of using technology within the company; for example, 90% of its corporate data consumers use a business intelligence (BI) tool. The company does not have a centralized BI team but rather uses multiple teams distributed across its divisions, not all of whom use the same BI tool. Wayfair has a unified infrastructure team, within which is the data tools team.

This team explored Looker as a product that might meet its needs for a visualization tool that could work across multiple BI solutions to provide insights derived from Wayfair’s data. Initially, the team used Looker in pilot projects and found that it could address many of its use cases. In addition to offering innovative ways to answer questions, it also could adjust to different levels of data maturity across divisions.

Wayfair uses multiple products in addition to Looker in its data ecosystem, including PubSub for streaming and data ingestion, Dataproc for data processing, and BigQuery, Google’s cloud data warehouse. Looker’s role is to visualize data on dashboards, which are designed to provide any level of detail desired by the user. The data presented allows Wayfair to make personalized recommendations. In addition, the dashboards assist in managing inventory and forecasting demand.

Looker was founded in 2011 and acquired by Google in 2020. It uses a modeling language called LookML to query data to produce reports and dashboards. Its visualization capabilities include a library of data visualizations such as sunbursts, funnels, timelines, maps, and many other formats. Customized visualizations can also be developed. Its top verticals include ecommerce, media, fintech, retail, and healthcare.

Understanding big data

One of the advantages of visualization as an analytic tool is its ability to summarize very large amounts of data in a consumable way. Verizon Fios serves millions of customers and collects up to 4 terabytes per day of data, which is stored in Hadoop, Teradata, and Oracle. Verizon’s Analytics Center of Excellence (ACE) has a team of 80 people, 30 of whom do analyses, with the remainder focused on data governance, preparation, and modeling. The analytics group extracts data from various repositories and analyzes it using Tableau, an analytics platform. Over 1,000 dashboards were created for operations, business transformation, product development, marketing, and software engineering teams.

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