Data Visualization - Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

Published on May 18, 2019

Being an analyst and using Excel and PowerPoint to do website and mobile app reporting and analysis can become cumbersome and time-consuming. From the corporate sector, many large organizations are using Tableau. It is a great product, and their support is excellent. If you are an independent freelancer, Google Data Studio is the free data visualization solution.

At its core, Data Studio works excellent with Google Analytics. There are some gaps right when it comes to funnel visualization. With no template to create it, you have to get creative. There are some excellent resources on the web. 

Google Sheets connects seamlessly to Data Studio, but this is where it was time to get out of my comfort zone. A client had the impressions that it would be simple to take his staffing data in a Google Sheet and create a staffing management tool in Google Data Studio. The reason he liked Google Data Studio was that the Excel solution was too big to manage.

To grow as a (reporting) analyst, you need to get out of your comfort zone, and this project was a challenge. Understanding the relationship with Google Sheets as it connects with Google Data Studio made setting up the sheet structure a lesson in data management. The end product had to be scalable. The other challenge is that Google Sheet's functions are different than Excel's, and setting up if statements to bucket staff into time frame buckets became a test and learn process.

The last part of the project was testing all the logic to ensure that time frame buckets, and the filter controls all worked correctly. The end product is fantastic. The other take away with a project of this type is it was a collaboration. Up front, the client understood, and there was excellent communication.

Projects like this make you get out of that comfort zone and create great learning experiences that carry forward into future data visualization projects.