When creating data visualizations, there are two primary options: hiring a data visualization specialist/agency or using data visualization software. Each method is appropriate for different types of visualization projects. If you have a project that is best served by data visualization software, then you’ll need to choose the best data visualization tools for your project.

We’ve compiled a list of the tools we know and like – the one that’s right for you will vary based on your specific project needs, but these will give you a start:

MicroStrategy Analytics Desktop

http://www.microstrategy.com/us/free/desktop

MicroStrategy Analytics Desktop is a fast and user-friendly software for visual data analytics. Quick to download and install, this visualization software allows you to get to work quickly. Included sample data and pre-built interactive dashboards further serve to lower the learning curve.

MicroStrategy allows you to connect any database you like, import Excel spreadsheets/CSV files and even import data from an online source. What’s more, you can blend multiple data sources and types to gain the exact insights you need.

The basic version is free and allows for simplistic, but insightful, visualizations to be created. If your project requires more advanced features, like Salesforce Reporting, Enterprise Information Integration or Mobile access,  upgrading to “Analytics Enterprise” allows you to access to these features.

Learn more about Microstrategy Analytics Desktop…

Domo

Domo offers an online business intelligence tool that has a sleek UI and is specifically designed to allow users to build sophisticated dashboards with no IT involvement. Because the software is accessible online, Domo and the dashboards it creates, are available to your entire organization.

Their Domo platform is particularly well-suited for users looking to visualize data in existing cloud-based apps like Salesforce.com. In addition to cloud-based apps, Domo can take input from databases, spreadsheets and even social media platforms. The output is just as versatile – Domo created dashboards are designed to be viewable on tablets and mobile devices in addition to a traditional PC interface

Learn more about Domo…

Tableau

Tableau offers a suite of tools that include an online, desktop and server version. All of these versions provide a easy-to-use drag and drop interface that can help you quickly turn your data into business insights. The online and server versions allow your entire team to build and work with the visualization tool.

Like many other data analytics and visualization tools, Tableau can connect to local or remote data of many different formats. Additionally, the Tableau engine can connect to live data for up-to-date visualizations (at the sacrifice of some speed) or warehoused data for much smoother-moving visualizations.

Learn more about Tableau…

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QlikView

The QlikView business discovery platform is one of a few visual analytics tools offered by Qlik. QlikView can’t create the same elegant visualizations that the other tools offer, but the software’s dynamic model means that you can quickly analyze your data in multiple dimensions. In addition, QlikView is able to work off of data in memory instead of off your disk, allowing for real-time operational BI environments (like monitoring financial transactions).

QlikView is able to work with a wide variety of data sources, including SAP, Oracle, Salesforce.com and other legacy data files like Excel spreadsheets. What’s more, QlikView can combine these disparate data sources into a single visualization or dashboard.

Although there are some noteworthy challenges when it comes to creating scripting and troubleshooting data challenges, the QlikView tool is generally quite user friendly and offers robust filtering options.

Learn more about QlikView…

 When you need the ability to quickly visualize your data or use a dashboard to watch for known, expected and unexpected circumstances, visual analytics software may be right for you. Choosing the best data visualization tools for your organizations needs is a process of trial and discovery. These four options are a great place to start.

When you’re looking for a data visualization that will have a high return-on-investment, a custom dashboard may be right for you.. A custom data visualization dashboard allows your organization access to data in real time, allowing you to quickly understand key business metrics and make decisions based on that information. Custom visual dashboards save time, improve decision making, and help save or bring in new revenue. Experienced data visualization firms like Boost Labs can build a great custom dashboard that is tailored to your company’s needs.

How can we help you with a Custom Dashboard?