Whether you’re in sales, finance, customer service, or manufacturing, you can benefit from tapping into NetSuite’s trove of data—in real time. To do so effectively, though, it’s important to follow established best practices for visualizing your data.

Why Data Visualizations in NetSuite Are Preferable to Spreadsheets

As the world gets more complicated, data-driven decision-making is essential. A visual representation of data makes it easier for people to quickly develop important insights, recognize key trends, and take action.

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Saved searches and spreadsheets are tedious, inflexible, and static. Visual, interactive reporting, on the other hand, is easy to use and flexible. Most importantly, it makes use of real-time data so you can make better more agile decisions and react to threats and opportunities as they occur.

Follow These Best Practices to Create a Culture of Visualization

If your company wants to adopt a culture of visualization but isn’t sure where to begin, the following best practices will help. We’ve found that hundreds of iCharts customers who use NetSuite have accelerated the adoption of visualization by implementing these best practices.

  1.     Don’t export your data
  2.     Don’t reinvent the wheel
  3.     Use simple charts for quick adoption
  4.     Release and iterate—don’t wait for perfection

Read on to learn about the reasons behind these best practices.

Don’t Export Your Data

We ran multiple surveys within the NetSuite ecosystem, and 90 percent of respondents said they export their NetSuite data to Excel in order to create visual reports. While you can create useful visualizations in Excel, it’s a slow process with multiple steps. Here’s how it usually works:

  1.     A colleague needs a chart or a report
  2.     You have to create or customize a NetSuite saved search and export that data to Excel.
  3.     You manipulate data in Excel to create charts or dashboards
  4.     You email the file back to the colleague.

There are several drawbacks to data exports. As soon as NetSuite data is exported, it’s static and out-of-date. Sometimes, the file you’ve created in Excel is too big to be emailed. And what if the colleague requests modifications or updated figures? Essentially, you have to start over by pulling the NetSuite data once more and repeating the entire process in Excel.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

Organizations that want to begin the process of data visualization often think they have to create their own unique visualizations from scratch. What actually happens is that they spend too much time re-creating charts and graphs and visualizations that already have been well defined throughout the industry.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, you can leverage the most commonly used charts within a particular role or a vertical and then build out from there. By making use of existing charts, you can quickly move away from a reliance on spreadsheets and start establishing a visual mindset.

Keep It Simple

When laying the groundwork for a culture of visualization, remember that simple charts get adopted more quickly. Yes, it’s very cool to be able to create complex charts with layers of data and multiple filters. When you’re just starting to develop a culture of visualization, though, a chart with limited functionality will be more useful to employees. You can add all the bells and whistles later, after employees have had additional training on how to explore data within the charts.

Keeping charts simple also helps speed the adoption of a visual culture at a grassroots level. As employees see for themselves how easy it is to create visualizations, they’ll begin doing it voluntarily.

Release and Iterate

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” In other words, it’s better to get something good out sooner than it is to hold off, waiting to achieve perfection. That’s especially true in the process of building charts. The process is never officially “done”—you can tinker endlessly. But sometimes, you just need to let go.

We’ve found that a cycle of quick release, followed by iteration, ends up getting you further, faster. You get feedback right away on whether the charts are working for their intended users. Also, the people who are supposed to be adopting the charts will develop a greater interest and sense of ownership if they’re more involved in the development process.

We recommend that companies release five simple charts and use them as a steppingstone to more complete and complex charts. In the meantime, users will see the value of the charts, which can help your business move from a spreadsheet paradigm to a visual paradigm.

Why Businesses Choose iCharts for Data Visualization

iCharts allows organizations to extend the native functionality of NetSuite through real-time, interactive charts. Plus, it’s the only data visualization tool that’s fully native to NetSuite and embedded in the NetSuite platform.

We built our solution for the business user, not just for developers and analysts. That means everyone can make use of NetSuite’s data to start making data-driven decisions immediately.

In addition, iCharts gives you a 360-degree view of your business, so that you can mash up outside data sources with your NetSuite data. For instance, let’s say you want to review how sales reps are performing against quota. The performance metrics are in NetSuite, but the quota information comes from another data source. With iCharts, you can access data from other systems to create visualizations using multiple data sources—all without ever leaving NetSuite.

Installing iCharts is as easy as downloading a SuiteApp bundle. Most users can be up and running to create their first data visualizations in as little as 15 minutes.

Finally, businesses that use NetSuite know they can trust iCharts. After all, we were named SuiteCloud SuiteApp of the Year for 2016, and we have hundreds of satisfied customers.

To learn more about iCharts and see a demo of our data visualization solution in action, check out our latest webinar:

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