I have been pondering the power of data visualization and mobility since reading Kevin Benedict’s most recent blog “More on Mobility and 4D Field Services“. In his article Kevin makes a key point and ask a critical question, “The data can provide us with real-time “situational awareness,” but can we understand it and use it to make better decisions for our businesses?
As they say “a picture is worth a 1000 words”, data visualization is the same.
Presenting real time data in a visualization layer provides REAL meaning to job status or progress. Presenting data in an easily understood and actionable format enables decision makers to act NOW instead of struggling to interpret the data and then respond in in damage control mode.
We often think of only acting on critical “red flagged” data. This reactionary model negatively impacts our customers and business. Whereas if we can associate visual cues to help us immediately understand a situation the greater our opportunity to quickly and properly respond.
In Kevin’s example he used yellow circles to visually identify languishing jobs. A simple example of this is a stoplight. We all understand the metaphor; red – stop, yellow – slow down (or punch it), green – go. What happens to your decision making capabilities if you carry this some color or other iconic metaphor into your applications?
In a recent mobile application we developed for the natural gas industry we implemented this type of data visualization. At a glance technicians can identify service calls that require immediate or semi-immediate attention based on color. Graphical “color-cut” representations of the tank enable service tech to immediately understand the product mix contained within a given tank. Armed with this data technicians are able to make quicker decisions based on situational import as well as data content.
By providing visual clarity to the data, service techs and managers can proactively respond and manage service issues before their status moves from “yellow” to “red”. Businesses that are implementing these types of mobile strategies are gaining a gain competitive edge due to their ability to dynamically respond to customer needs before they even know there is a potential problems. Armed with better tools to interpret and act on data they are providing better perceived and real service to their customers.
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Zenware is a Boise Idaho based company that specializes In custom mobile software development, custom iOS development, custom Android development, ipad software development, iphone software development, custom web development, web hosting and Saas based work order management software.