This is a guest post from Revelwood’s Susan Musselman.
Did you know charts and graphs are an excellent way to illustrate relationships in data and highlight trends in IBM Planning Analytics Workspace? They are visualizations of data that allow end users to quickly analyze a large amount of data. To make the biggest impact, it is important to choose the right chart for the use case of the data. Following is a list of chart types available within Planning Analytics Workspace, along with use cases where one type might be better than another.
An area chart emphasizes the magnitude of change over time. It is good for showing trends. Example: show how sales values have changed over a number of years.
Bar charts are used to compare different items, or to show a comparison of items over time. Compared to Column charts, Bar charts are good for displaying long data labels. An example would be a Top 10 Salesperson chart where the full names are listed.
Stacked Bar Charts
Stacked bar charts are designed to help you simultaneously compare totals and notice sharp changes at the item level that are likely to have the most influence on movements in category totals.
Similar to bar charts, but with a vertical orientation instead of horizontal. Column charts are good for displaying data sets with negative values. A good example would be a Regional Profit comparison chart where some regions have a loss.
Stacked Column Charts
Similar to column charts, but it shows multiple items in each column. Example: showing 4 quarters of Orders by Region.
Line charts show trends over time. The chart can show just one line or multiple lines, but the number of lines should be limited so the chart does not get too busy.
A map chart displays data based on geography. A good use of this chart type would be to show relative Revenue by State.
Packed Bubble Charts
This chart is a way to show relational value without regards to axes. The bubbles are in different sizes and colors. The x-axis represents one measure, the y-axis represents another measure, and the size of the bubbles represents the third measure. A good use would be Product Sales within Product Types. This chart is best for positive numbers.
Shows each piece as a component of a larger part. Good for showing percentages as part of a whole. Does not show changes over time.
A point visualization uses multiple points to show trends over time. It is similar to a line chart, but without the lines; only the data points are shown.
Shows progress toward a goal. Comparisons can be made by having multiple circles. Too many will be busy and ineffective.
Radial Bar Charts
This chart is pleasing to the eye, but it may be difficult to interpret. It is similar to a bar chart, but it is displayed in a circular fashion.
A tree map identifies patterns and exceptions in a large, complex data set. It should not be used with negative numbers. It shows relationships among large numbers of components by using size and color coding in a set of nested rectangles.
A word cloud is a visual representation of text values. The more frequently a text string occurs in your data, the larger the string appears in the word cloud.
When choosing which type of chart to use, don’t forget the purpose: to make it faster and easier for end users to understand the data. The less explanation it needs, the better.
IBM Planning Analytics is full of new features and functionality. Not sure where to start? Our team here at Revelwood can help. Contact us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org. And stay tuned for more Planning Analytics Tips & Tricks weekly in our Knowledge Center and in upcoming newsletters!