Visualizations have been helping people understand data for centuries. Clear and accurate reporting plays a pivotal role in any business decision today.
Data visualization is a general term that describes any effort to help people understand the significance of data by placing it in a visual context. Patterns, trends and correlations that might go undetected in text-based data can be exposed and recognized easier with data visualization tools.
Data visualization originates in ancient times. In 1644, Michael Florent van Langren, a Flemmish astronomer, is believed to have provided the first visual representation of statistical data. It was a one dimensional line graph that shows the twelve known estimates at the time of the difference in longitude between Toledo and Rome, as well as the name of each astronomer who provided the estimate. What is notable here is that while Van Langren could have provided this information in a table, it is the use of the graph that really visually displays the wide variations in estimates.
Then, in the 18th century we observe the beginning of thematic mapping. This period also gave us William Playfair, widely considered the inventor of many of the most popular graphs we use today (line, bar, circle and pie charts). Many statistical chart types, including histograms, time series plots, contour plots, scatterplots and others were invented during this period.
Beginning in the 19th century and continuing today, we continue to see dramatic and interesting developments in data visualization. From one and two-dimensional maps and charts to multidimensional presentations of big amounts of data. It is a tremendous development strongly supported by advancements in technology.
Today's data visualization tools go beyond the standard charts and graphs used in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. They can display data in more sophisticated ways such as infographics, dials and gauges, geographical maps, heat maps, and detailed bar, pie and other charts.
We are now living in a Golden Era of data visualization. We can proudly say that behind any smart business decision lies a significant amount of data visualized in the best possible way. A complete set of reporting tools can be critical for a well-designed and optimized data visualization.
There are many automated reporting tools on the market with a variety of features and functionalities, and it can feel hard to navigate them all and choose the best option. But if we are thinking about the top benefits of a complete reporting tool for best data visualization, we can end up with 5 simple Ps. Let’s dig into each of them.
A complete reporting tool has an easily accessible and intuitive report designer that requires minimal training to use. The designer typically provides numerous styling capabilities, such as conditional formatting, CSS-like styling and countless wizards to help users create complex report layouts, style reports, manipulate data and build visually appealing presentations. By using data-bound items like maps, charts, crosstabs and sub reports, users are able to present interactive report decks and other elements (dashboards, reports by region, invoices, inventory reports, barcode reports and much more). Then the reports can be seamlessly embedded, viewed, and exported in any kind of format.
When a user relies on a reporting tool, they have to be able easily and quickly embed reporting functionality into existing line-of-business desktop or web applications without significantly restructuring or modifying anything. The tool should not require provisioning additional hardware and should make it easy for in-house developers, already familiar with the application, to add the reporting functionality. A complete reporting tool can speed up the production of reports by more than 40%.
Generating large and complex reports that contain rich graphics can be resource intensive. It is crucial to have a highly-optimized report engine that can build the report on the server with minimal memory and processor usage. The report engine in a complete reporting tool is easily configured with secure access to line-of-business data and has options for publishing, exporting and sharing the reports.
Management expects reports that crystallize business results and trends and which allow them to understand the underlying causes and circumstances. This often requires carefully formatted and highly stylized reports that present rich graphics with dashboard-like displays, and which support interactive features such as filtering, sorting and drill-through actions to supporting data in linked reports. Well-presented and appealing data visualizations created with a reporting tool can be a solid pillar for stable business progress.
Empowering business users to create and analyze ad hoc reports with a complete reporting tool will secure cost-effective licensing and will save development time and money.
Presentation-Productivity-Performance-Progress-Price—these are the main pillars of a complete reporting solution that are a must for any business.
Telerik Reporting is a mature and robust reporting solution that is flexible and performant, offering an economical per-developer based licensing with no end-user costs. Your in-house developers can quickly integrate reports in responsive HTML5, Angular and .NET web apps (ASP.NET, MVC, Core), Azure and WPF/WinForms desktop apps. It offers a complete feature set for report creation, styling and interactivity. You can export the reports in more than 15 formats, including Word, Excel, PDF, PPT, image, CSV and more. And the powerful yet intuitive desktop and Visual Studio integrated designers ensure “pixel-perfect” printing and rendering.
With Progress Telerik Reporting you get sophisticated features like conditional formatting, report books with table of contents, custom interactivity actions, PDF security, events in all viewers, great report rendering, private fonts, continuous form paper printing and more. Plus, the featured HTML5 Report Viewer is both fully responsive and accessibility compliant.
Telerik Reporting provides design-time, data source components to help you codelessly bind report items to several data sources simultaneously. This includes Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services cubes, ADO.NET data sources, relational databases, business objects, ORMs and XML. Programmatic data binding (at run-time) is also supported.
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Galia is a Product Marketing Manager for Telerik Reporting, Telerik Report Server and Telerik Test Studio at Progress. She has 18+ years in marketing, improving the sales, performance and reputation of a great number of international companies. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, psychology, mountain climbing and music.