Data Visualization: Putting Business Intelligence in the Hands of the User

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Data Visualization: Putting Business Intelligence in the Hands of the User

What do text messages, emails, dues payments and event registrations all have in common? They contain data, the amount of which, according to recent studies, is doubling worldwide every two years. A massive amount of new data is generated daily from a range of sources, and unbeknownst to most organizations, they are housing a treasure-trove of data that they can use to ultimately increase their membership, participation and funding.

The problem most associations and nonprofits face is the inability to quickly access and then view their data from a single source. Boards, committees, members, funders, etc. all have specific demands for multiple types of data. It needs to be presented in a simple format that can be visualized and then analyzed to help generate new insights. Most organizations currently use Excel to export, copy, slice and paste data from multiple sources, compare or merge the data and then finally initiate Excel wizards to create basic tables and charts or contact their IT departments to merge and report on complex data.

As data is inputted and updated into an organization’s Association Management System (AMS), it is vital that the information reported is up to date and able to be accessed quickly. Data visualization, also called “Business Intelligence” or simply “BI,” helps to synthesize all data from multiple sources (i.e. AMS, Accounting, Marketing, Social Media, Vendors, etc.) to help (among other uses) the user inform members faster, keep the organization’s mission in focus and to drive funding initiatives. Unlike many other reporting programs, BI users are not required to be IT experts because anyone with access to the required information will be able to simply and quickly generate the necessary reports.

Altai recommends Microsoft Power BI as it is a complete self-service BI solution. It is delivered through Excel and Office 365 thus providing data discovery, analysis, and visualization capabilities to identify deeper business insights. The Power BI for Office 365 service is a Cloud-based solution that enables collaboration and reduces the barriers to deploying a BI environment for sharing reports and accessing information.

BI enables users to get the most current information from multiple system sources presented in an easily understandable visual format. To learn more about BI and how it can help your organization, contact


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