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application programming interfaces (APIs)

Data visualization is not a new concept. Pie charts and bar and line graphs have existed throughout the ages. What’s changed are the kinds and size of data that can be represented this way, and the many more sophisticated ways in which you can show it and share it.

The Importance of the Dashboard

Ultimately, data visualization capabilities are used to build dashboards. Sometimes the dashboard represents a single, data-based story that is significant to many viewers. Or the dashboard may contain many stories for the benefit of a single user. Dashboards sometimes come with visualizations that are preset and fixed in place. Other times the dashboard’s visualizations come with various display options or images that are customizable. Sharing can often be customized too, such as according to permissions, per business line, per job role pertinence, or even by personal preferences. In any case, the dashboard typically contains two or more data visualizations meant to inform and sometimes even prompt a business action or decision.

Source: Mailchimp blog


Source: Mailchimp blog

Prior to the advent of self-service BI tools, executives had to present their questions to a database professional who would then try to understand it as best he or she could, write a SQL query, and representing that question against a database or data warehouse. The result would be fed to an IT person who would then write the necessary code to represent it as a dashboard on the executive’s team website, on a shared app, or even just as a standalone document the executive received via email. If more than one data source was needed, then very often more than one database professional had to write separate queries (which then had to be melded together offline).