Big Data Is Nothing If Not Visual

InformationWeek interviews me on my new book.

My interview on InformationWeek on The Visual Organization is now live. Here’s an excerpt:

IW: In most cases, the C-suite isn’t going to initiate the deployment of dataviz tools. Should a small team pitch a dataviz strategy to senior leadership to get the ball rolling?

PS: Well, that’s one option, but employees at visual organizations tend not to ask for permission. The rise of cloud-based, SaaS, and open-source software collectively mean that a top-down deployment process is no longer required. This is not 1998. Drawn-out RFI and RFP processes lead to missed opportunities.

While it’s important to follow internal governance rules, waiting a year or more to deploy a new dataviz tool can cost a business dearly. Bottom-up approaches can quickly generate results and excitement throughout the company.

IW: So it does not have to start with the IT department?

PS: Absolutely not. I believe that the lines of business should “own” their data.

IW: You begin the book with the story of the dataviz vendor Tableau’s IPO. Smaller vendors are developing powerful dataviz tools, but Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM are in the dataviz game too. What are the pros and cons of going with a large vendor?

PS: Well, there’s something to be said for one-stop shopping. All else being equal, it shouldn’t be too hard to get a single vendor’s products to talk to each other, although I’ve seen completely disparate systems and applications stitched together in my years as a consultant.

Adding a new vendor into the equation means signing new contracts, incurring risk, developing new relationships, and (potentially) fulfilling new integration requirements.

However, large vendors like Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM have their hands in many pots. It doesn’t mean that they make “bad” dataviz products. It only means that their priorities aren’t concentrated on one area. Best-of-breed vendors, however, have but one mission: To improve the functionality of their tools.

Read the whole thing here.

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