Data Visualization at Walmart

Introduction

Data visualization is the representation of data through diagrams, charts and pictures. It helps in the identifying trends or patterns that were overlooked initially in text-based data. This process to understand data has existed from a long time. It is a quick and easy way to analyze complex and large amounts of data. Initially, simple tools such as different forms of graph and diagrams were used for the visualization of data. With the evolution of technology, the amount of data that currently exists in the world is immense (Rouse, 2017).

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Today information is a key to success which means that processing and developing data into useful information is of utmost importance. In order to facilitate the understanding of information in tremendous amounts, different software has been introduced for the purpose of data visualization. The purpose of this paper is to identify the existing software for data visualization and discuss how companies use it to improve their business (Rouse, 2017).  

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Data Visualization Software

Data visualization software is a tool that is designed to understand huge data sets, identify any trends and provide the user with the results in minimum amount of time. This software combines similar data from different sources and present the best possible solution to the user in a way that users can easily understand the patterns in data. There are many different solutions available for companies that require data visualization in their daily operations. Some of them are discussed below. 

Tableau

Tableau is the fastest growing and the most powerful tool for data visualization in the Business Intelligence industry. It converts data into processed information which can be represented in the form of graphs, charts, dashboards and even worksheets. Every member of an organization can easily understands, interact and use Tableau without a lot of effort or training. It even has features which gives access to non-technical users for the creation of their own dashboards so that they can understand and view the data easily (Guru99, 2019).

Tableau lets users create how and in what way their data will be represented as well as giving them the ability to share their creation of data across multiple platforms such as Email, Mobile and Desktop. It allows users to extract data from many different sources. Any imaginable platform can be used as a source in Tableau. From Microsoft Excel and Adobe PDF to proper databases like Oracle and SQL, Tableau can extract data from all of them. After the extraction of data, the tool connects all information together and presents in a very human-friendly form (Guru99, 2019). Many different organizations such as Amazon and Nike utilize this tool for their data analysis.

Sisense

            Sisense is also a Business Intelligence tool which is used by small as well as huge business enterprises for the purpose of data visualization. It is also one of the few tools which help the non-technical user in combining data from various different sources. It also allows all kinds of users to create any customized dashboards and different forms of data visualizations. These creations can also be shared with other users. The dashboards, graphs and other visualizations that the users create do not have to be necessarily downloaded in order to be shared with different users (Sisense, 2019).  

 It is a tool which can be learnt easily. It can generate different kinds of reports i.e. from all kinds of complicated ones to most simple ones. Through this tool, many organizations have been facilitated in quick and accurate report generation. They have helped organizations understand their own data. They utilize advance technology like bots as well as new information alerts in order to keep their customers satisfied. Companies like Airbus and NASDAQ use this technology (Sisense, 2019). 

QlikView

            QlikView is another Business Intelligence tool which is immensely popular. It has many options for customization and has huge range of features to select the desired functionality from. The user interface is simple and clean; therefore it is quite easy to interact with. Most of the controls are given to the user. Reports and dashboards can be generated in any format without much hassle which is one of its best features. The decisions made by users through the information presented by QlikView are precise and time saving.

            It ensures flexibility and ease of implementation for its users. Its users can extract reports in any form which they are comfortable with i.e. in the form of a dashboard, graphs or any other option which this software offers. The implementation period of this software is very short which further facilitates the users who can start using it almost immediately. It’s cost effective and even comes with a free trial. With a customer base of 40,000 in approximately 100 countries all around the world, QlikView is a very popular tool (Anjani, 2018).  

Data wrapper

            This is another interesting tool which is becoming increasingly popular over the years. It is an open source tool available on the web to create different interactive graphs and charts. Within minutes or seconds, the desired chart or graph can be created. This graph or chart can be incorporated with the web and can be viewed on web servers easily.

            One of the issues with Data wrapper is that it is a bit difficult to modify. Unlike the other discussed software, if the charts or graphs created by this software have to be modified then the source code has to be modified as well. It also requires cleaning of the dataset which means that data cannot be in any random form rather it must be polished and presented in a simple way. Mostly CSV files are used as input but direct input can be made by users as well. The data extracted from this can be either in the form of an interactive chart or a static image.

Others

            There are many other software solutions available for the purpose of data visualization. Organizations can have a large set to choose from when they are picking the best suitable tool for their operations. Extracting useful information out of the data which is provided to the tool is the purpose of these tools. Fusion Charts is another such example of a tool. It has many exquisite features such as a range of templates which can be used for viewing data instead of building everything from the start. This software is not available for a free trial. High Charts is software that is considered as one of the best data visualization software. It requires minimum training for end users to operate this software and can run on multiple platforms without facing any hindrances (Marr, 2018).

Wal-Mart

            Wal-Mart is a huge discount retailer store which started out in America about 50 years ago. All sorts of things can be purchased from there. Millions of customers visit the store on a weekly basis. Today it is present all around the world. Not only is it a brick and mortar store but it is also an ecommerce store which operates in around ten countries. With an immense amount of data which is received from sources all around the world as well as all the states, it become hard to manage it and convert it into useful information. In order to overcome the problem of understanding data and converting it into useful information, Wal-Mart has started using the tool Tableau. It has facilitated the organization in many ways.

Usage of Tableau at Walmart

            Employees at Wal-Mart have been very much facilitated by Tableau. They can easily create a dashboard with the information or the data that they are provided. Since the Wal-Mart strategy and leadership revolves around the customers, employees at Wal-Mart can easily draw out patterns and create dashboards in real time. It is used by many different departments of the organization i.e. the HR department, the marketing department, customer management department as well.

Benefits of Tableau for Walmart

            One of the major benefits of Tableau at Walmart has been the quick responses and results it creates. Data driven decisions can be taken on the go. Above all else, instead of presenting data in the form of an excel sheet which is difficult to understand, data related to sales, customers purchases and even market trends can be presented in the form of a story through dashboards making it much more interesting to work with. Customers are much more satisfied with the results of Tableau because the information is easy to share as well as understand. The leadership of Wal-Mart is always amazed to see how Tableau has helped in putting together visualizations. The results created from them are easy to work with and understand. Therefore, Tableau has given a lot of benefits to Wal-Mart (Goh, nd).

Impacts of Tableau

            In a retailer or wholesaler business, it is very hard to rely on intuitions for predictions related to business. And in a business as gigantic as that of Wal-Mart it becomes impossible to imagine its possibility. Tableau has created a huge impact on a business like Wal-Mart. It has helped the organization understand its tight margins and how they can be managed. It has helped in understanding and highlighting the needs of the customers through simple means. It creates patterns to identify where the market as well as the customer demand changed and will change again. It also helps in exploring the viable options which can be used in order to sustain a market and capture new customers as well. The patterns and trends which are presented through dashboards and infographics are simple, clear and easy to understand for all kinds of users. Any business which has a lot of interaction with customers can be easily influenced towards positivity if Tableau is used properly (Goh, n.d.).

Expansion of Wal-Mart

            Wal-Mart is a massive chain which exists in many different countries around the world. In order for them to remain successful and maintain their position in the market, it is important that they use their data and turn into useful information. They are already using Tableau as a tool to understand their existing data. All departments of Wal-Mart must work together in order to identify all trends and patterns that can co-exist in data. The most important thing that Wal-Mart can accomplish by this data is to understand and analyze their competitors. This way they can achieve competitive advantage over their direct competitors. They can hold a better position in the market and stay one step ahead of them. 

Conclusion

            Data is an integral part of our industries. It is of utmost importance as we live in times where information is of utmost important for every organization. Unless and until data is converted into information, it is impossible to understand the worth of data. There are many tools which are available to facilitate companies in order to understand data better and convert it into useful information. These tools can help visualize data better through different graphs and dashboards. All organizations use one tool or another in order to facilitate themselves in understanding data in a better and more comprehensive way. The senior level management is especially facilitated through these tools. Wal-Mart is a retail giant which uses a data visualization tool called as Tableau. They have reaped many benefits out of it. This is why it is important to use tools such as these.

References

Guru99. (2019). what is Tableau? Uses and Applications. Retrieved from https://www.guru99.com/what-is-tableau.html

Sisense. (2019). Agile Business Intelligence Tool for Complex Data. Retrieved from https://www.sisense.com/why-sisense/

Anjani. (2018, December 20). Benefits/Advantages of QlikView, QlikSense, Tableau and Power BI. Retrieved from https://ezdatamunch.com/benefitsadvantages-qlikview-qliksense-tableau-power-bi/\

Marr, B. (2018, July 6). The 7 Best Data Visualization Tools Available Today. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2017/07/20/the-7-best-data-visualization-tools-in-2017/#65563c766c30

Goh. (n.d.). Walmart: Faster decisions with people analytics [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.tableau.com/solutions/customer/walmart-faster-decisions-people-analytics

Rouse. (2017, July). What is data visualization? – Definition from WhatIs.com. Retrieved from https://searchbusinessanalytics.techtarget.com/definition/data-visualization

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Daniel Fortune

Daniel Fortune is a successful business professional, entrepreneur, father, and lover of travel.

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