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Art of BI: Five Great Tools for Data Visualization

Author: Christian Screen | | January 31, 2017

In one form or the other we have always used data visualization. Pie charts, histograms, bar and line charts, and similar chart types have been used to depict data for quite some time now. So why has data visualization assumed so much importance in today’s information age?

Data is being generated faster than we can process it, analyze it, and draw useful insights from it. In order to keep up with this veritable explosion in data, we need tools and technologies that can keep up with the pace of data discovery and presentation of information.

The information explosion also has shortened attention spans. We need to convey complex insights, trends, and data-based analyses in a very short time. Data visualization is the one way through which consumers of data can quickly understand and analyze data.

What are the tools that can be used for data visualization?

Data visualizations tools range from simple to use, cloud-based, self-service visualization tools that target specific audiences and serve specific purposes to complex enterprise-level, multi-user solutions. Quite a few of the tools have SDKs and APIs — offering multi-language and platform support — that can be integrated into existing websites and web applications. Here’s a brief overview of some of the platforms to choose from. For a more in-depth look at Tableau and Oracle’s BICS/OBIEE Visual Analyzer tool, how they compare, and how they can improve your data visualization, download our recently published white paper, Data Visualization and Discovery in Oracle Analytics.


Known previously as CartoDB, the company rebranded itself as Carto in July of 2016. If you work intensively with geospatial or location-based data you may want to check out the Carto tool. It works for both end users and for software developers.

The company offers two versions of its cloud-based services — the Carto Builder and Carto Engine. The Carto Builder can be used by data analysts by integrating tabular data with maps. This component uses unified workflows and widget-driven dashboards that enable users to create map-based data visualizations with relatively little effort. It’s a solution that can scale with your requirements.

Tableau Public

Tableau Public is a free cloud-based service through which users can create and share stunning graphs and charts, visually appealing and intuitive maps, interactive dashboards, and a host of other data visualizations.

The dashboards and other visualizations are dynamic and can be displayed across different devices. You don’t have to worry if your visualization is being displayed on a laptop, mobile phone or tablet — the view is optimized for you. Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server are Tableau’s supported data visualization tools that have really seen an uptake in the last several years typically in lines of business within an organization seeking a departure from the antiquated visuals found in their legacy analytics tools.


Ranked as one of the best visualization tools for non-coders, Datawrapper is an online visualization tool that is easy to use and produces excellent results. Since it’s also fast, it’s a favorite with the newsrooms and reporters, who use this tool to embed charts and graphs into their news reports.

All that the user is required to do is to upload a CSV file or paste the contents into the designer interface. Check out this gallery to get an idea of this tool’s capabilities.


Raw is an open-source web app that can be used off the cloud, or can be downloaded from GitHub and customized. It can be used with very little effort — all it takes is three to four steps, and you have an excellent data visualization result that can be exported or embedded into your website or app.

Oracle BICS Visual Analyzer

Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service Visual Analyzer is a web-based tool that enables you to explore Oracle analytics data visually and on an individual basis. It is a self-service data visualization tool available via the cloud service and on-premise in Oracle BI (OBIEE). Visual Analyzer allows you to:

  • Showcase business KPIs with the best visualization
  • Provide valuable insights into data through mash-ups and drill-down functionality
  • Show a complete picture of our data and embed into OBIEE dashboards
  • Ask better questions and get visual answers right from the dataset
  • Give users a way to discover data independently
  • Connect to the Oracle BI metadata repository for enterprise analytics

All the above tools are easy to use and may serve specific purposes or fulfill the needs of a specific audience.

Do you need more advanced analytical solutions?

For help building better data visualization for your lines of business using brilliant reports and dashboards, or to learn how these tools can help your organization with data visualization, analytics, reporting, and other related requirements, please contact Datavail today. With more than 600 database administrators worldwide, Datavail is the largest database services provider in North America. As a reliable provider of 24×7 managed services for applications, BI/Analytics, and databases, Datavail can support your organization, regardless of the build you’ve selected.

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