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Stella Artois' strapline "It's reassuringly expensive" sprang to mind when booking a place at the Data Visualisation Summit which took place on the 10th and 11th November 2014. I was looking forward to seeing some industry leaders, some inspirational speakers and networking with some of the bright lights of the industry but left feeling, as many Stella Artois drinkers do, short changed.
I only went for one day and have heard that the second day was better but on the whole, I left realising that we in the UK are a million miles behind the US in terms of adopting and making the most of Data Visualization. That's not to say that it didn't have it's plus points.... There were two speakers that really stood out for me; Kenneth Cukier from The Economist who demonstrated a real understanding of how to approach the problems of tryng to make sense of some of the data we're collecting and Nigel Hawtin from New Scientist Magazine whose primary objective is communicating complex messages quickly and easily to the uninitiated using visualization. I should also mention the relaxed and well thought out style of Louise Blais from Royal Mail whose experience seems to strike a chord with most organisations. Most companies aren't ready to make sense of their data because they have many separate and disorganised internal datasets. The IT departments are understaffed & overworked and that problem is only going to get worse as decision makers within organisations realise that if they could only understand their data then they would be able to better service their customers, increase sales, reduce mistakes and make themselves more streamlined.
Even though the Data Visualization Summit was a disappointment in terms of the networking opportunities and the speakers (bar the 3 mentioned above) it gave us the chance to cement our relationship with Moor Consulting, a company with a wealth of experience in building data visualization dashboards. We work with Moor Consulting to provide solutions to customers who think they're not ready, those who don't know how to extract their data or join their datasets together, and those who need a technical team to deliver agile and cost effective visualization dashboards.