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The 10 best tools for Data Visualization with Salesforce in 2017

What makes an effective data visualization?

Everyone knows that extracting reports in Salesforce takes a lot of time. This is why more and more top-performing companies are using a data visualization add-on to Salesforce and other CRMs that enables them to blend data from various sources, visualize it intuitively and apply performance thresholds and alerts so they can always be aware of important changes. In this post we’re going to look at the top 10 most popular data visualization tools for Salesforce in 2017, breaking them down by responsiveness, real-time aptitude, customization, speed, and interactivity so you can choose your tool with supreme confidence.

Data visualization enables your team to comprehend and analyze data as it is coming to them, letting them act on the data in real time. For example, looking at a spreadsheet your sales manager might not be able to see that one of your leads hasn’t been contacted in over 24 hours. However, when looking at a data visualization showing that every lead has been contacted except for one, and that one lead is colored in red and triggered an email alert, there is no chance that they can miss that opportunity (for more on the importance of lead times, check out our free eBook.)

However, not all visualizations are created equal. Researchers J. Suda and Hampton-Smith undertook an extensive analysis of modern data visualization tools and used the following words in their description of the top 5 features that an effective data visualization should have.

Responsive: the data visualization allows users a high-level view with smooth drill-downs into operational data.

Real Time: The data is refreshed automatically.

Customizable: Viewing styles, performance thresholds and filters can be changed to suit the user’s need.

Fast: A gauge of how quickly an untrained user can look at a visualization and immediately spot a pattern or see the actionable intelligence- it should leap off the screen.

Interactive: Users can not only see the data but interact with it in terms of search functionality- data is easily found and a way is provided to manipulate the source data if necessary.

We took this list of five elements and created the following chart so you can know exactly what each of these data visualization tools excels at before you purchase.



Criteria

Poor

Average

Excellent

Responsive

Does not allow for different levels of analysis

Users can look at simply high and low levels of data

Users can examine data at high and low levels smoothly

Real Time

The data cannot be refreshed or is refreshed manually

The data must be manually refreshed, or is automatically refreshed no more than 24 hours

The data is automatically refreshed at least once an hour, preferably every second

Customizable

The visualization cannot be customized: it is only seen

The visualization can be customized at it’s most basic level, or customization features are locked with admins

Any user can customize their data visualizations to suit their needs and glean fresh insight

Fast

The visualization offers very little insight, or it must be extensively studied to find the patterns or anomalies

The visualization is relatively easy to understand but uses outdated modes like graphs and charts

Visualization is immediately understood regardless of training and uses intuitive, interesting visual styles

Interactive

Little to no search functionality is available

Search function is there but is not intuitive, finding information is not easily done

Search function is present, intuitive and makes it easy to find even the most minute of data points


Now, let’s examine the 10 most popular Salesforce Add-ons for data visualization and grade them to discover which would be the best fit for your organization. There are other powerful analytics tools, such as Domo and Tableau, but aren’t necessarily focused on Salesforce data, which is why we aren’t reviewing them here.

 

Zommdata

 

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 12.33.46 PM.png

 

Criteria

Poor

Average

Excellent

Responsive

   

X

Real Time

 

X

 

Customizable

 

X

 

Fast

   

X

Interactive

   

X

 

Key Features

  • Forward facing data application lets customers interact with your data on any device.
  • Embed analytics into data-driven apps.

 

The best part about Zoomdata is, literally, the ability to zoom into the data. Whether you are looking at a map or a graph you can view all data granularly with a few clicks. zoom into the information and, with a few simple clicks, discover the actual data point behind the visualization. In this way Zoomdata’s visualizations serve to draw your attention to certain data points than anyone can then research and change.

 

Chartio

 

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 12.33.53 PM.png

 

Criteria

Poor

Average

Excellent

Responsive

 

X

 

Real Time

 

X

 

Customizable

   

X

Fast

X

   

Interactive

 

X

 

 

Key Features

  • Easy interface helps even basic users create their own reports.
  • End-to-end solution means that no step of the data acquisition, blending, analysis or visualization is neglected.

 

Chartio is definitely a tool for the already data savvy user. The whole point of this program is that anyone can dive into the data themselves and, with a few drop down menus and drag-and-drop functionality, they can create their own visualizations and glean insight. However, this interface is not the most intuitive and can be difficult for the novice to navigate.

 

Adaptive Discovery

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 12.34.01 PM.png

 

Criteria

Poor

Average

Excellent

Responsive

   

X

Real Time

   

X

Customizable

 

X

 

Fast

X

   

Interactive

 

X

 

 

Key Features

  • Intuitive pipeline visualizations.
  • Easy to consolidate data from various sources.

 

Adaptive discovery excels at the responsiveness criteria because the entire software was designed around drilling down seamlessly to discover actionable intelligence from a high-level visualization, delivering the “why” behind the visualization. However, seeing those patterns might be hard due to the sometimes confusing nature of the visualizations. Great for larger businesses that don’t need to train a lot of staff on how to use the product.

 

Answer Rocket

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 12.34.07 PM.png

 

Criteria

Poor

Average

Excellent

Responsive

   

X

Real Time

 

X

 

Customizable

 

X

 

Fast

X

   

Interactive

   

X

 

Key Features

  • Natural language search interface.
  • Dashboard feature provides intuitive visualizations for most important KPIs.

 

The absolute best feature in this tool is the natural language question to data visualization interface. You type a question into the search bar like “what were drug store sales by region in 2015” and AnswerRocket pops out a complete visualization as an answer to the question you can drill down into.

 

Zoho Reports

 

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 12.34.15 PM.png

 

Criteria

Poor

Average

Excellent

Responsive

 

X

 

Real Time

X

   

Customizable

 

X

 

Fast

X

   

Interactive

 

X

 

Key Features

  • Incredibly easy to install and blend different data sources into charts and graphs.
  • Seamless mobile app.

 

Zoho Reports is fantastically simple to use and has been widely praised for how easy it is to set up. However, once you do set up this data blending/visualization technology you will be treated to more of the same-old charts, graphs and data that is responsive and interactive but lacks the ability to answer questions regarding your most important KPIs.

 

Clic Data

 

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 12.34.22 PM.png

 

Criteria

Poor

Average

Excellent

Responsive

 

X

 

Real Time

   

X

Customizable

 

X

 

Fast

   

X

Interactive

 

X

 

 

Key Features

  • Drag and drop dashboard builder puts the most valuable information right at your fingertips.
  • Easy connections to social media sources, giving another valuable dimension to your data.

 

ClicData is widely known and praised for its customizable dashboard visualizations which are fantastically easy to understand largely thanks to intuitive visualization options like the “gauge”- a speed gauge style visualization that is color coded for fast insight. This visualization also scores highly in the real-time criteria thanks to the real-time alerts function that lets you know when data enters certain performance thresholds.

 

VIsualCue

 

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 12.34.28 PM.png

 

Criteria

Poor

Average

Excellent

Responsive

   

X

Real Time

 

X

 

Customizable

   

X

Fast

   

X

Interactive

 

X

 

 

Key Features

  • Customizable performance thresholds on every KPI so you are always informed.
  • Color-coded images make insights apparent to everyone in an organization.

 

VisualCue succeeds in the “fast” category because, unlike every other data visualization tool on this list, VisualCue presents their data not in graph or chart form (though that is available) they instead opt to translate KPIs into images that anyone can understand. You can also seamlessly switch between locational data on a geographic map with a calendar to get added insight. This makes the visualizations extremely intuitive. Take it for a test drive today!

InsightSquared

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 12.34.36 PM.png

 

Criteria

Poor

Average

Excellent

Responsive

X

   

Real Time

 

X

 

Customizable

   

X

Fast

X

   

Interactive

 

X

 

 

Key Features

  • “Demand Gen Analytics” tracks leads through the pipeline for easy sales and marketing alignment.
  • Activity and results analytics engines make it easy to discover efficiency ratios.

 

InsightSquared is an expert at following data downstream- whether it’s pipeline management, activity analytics or results analytics no tool makes it easier to determine whether your sales activities are working or not and allowing you to make adjustments accordingly. Although it provides you with deep insights the visualization aspect is lacking and still takes time to read.

Necto by Panorama

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 12.34.41 PM.png

 

Criteria

Poor

Average

Excellent

Responsive

X

   

Real Time

   

X

Customizable

 

X

 

Fast

 

X

 

Interactive

 

X

 

 

Key Features

  • KPI alerts make real-time data analysis and action easy.
  • Customizable dashboards with give you fast, meaningful insights.

 

Necto by Panorama wins in the real-time category thanks to the performance threshold alerts, much like Clicdata. It comes complete with the ability to blend all data into one system, with the added benefit of easy sharing capabilities to keep the rest of your team informed.

 

Microsoft Power BI

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 12.34.48 PM.png

 

Criteria

Poor

Average

Excellent

Responsive

X

   

Real Time

 

X

 

Customizable

 

X

 

Fast

   

X

Interactive

X

   

 

Key Features

  • Easy connections to all your data sources, with very intuitive designs.
  • Visualizations for every step of the pipeline makes customer lifecycle analytics easier.

 

One of the most intuitive platforms available, Power BI is a customizable, end-to-end solution for the data needs of medium to large companies. The best part about this tool is that every step in the pipeline has a visualization, allowing you to measure the important KPIs from lead generation to closing time.

Conclusion: Choose the Right Tool

Given the amount of valuable time it takes to generate a Salesforce report relying solely on the report-generating, data analysis and visualization tools in your CRM, this is not the most efficient way to gain insight from your data. The key to unlocking the value in your data is choosing the right insight tool. That decision should be based on the factors we’ve listed here and the particular needs of your organization: the size and type of data you are gathering especially. Use this eBook as a guide to match the tool to your organization and then, above all, make sure you thoroughly explore the demo environment of any tool you are considering before making a final decision. This way you can ensure that all of your data visualization and analysis needs are met.



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