Hands up if you find buying courses on platforms like Udemy much easier than actually finishing (or even starting) them?! I've got a bunch of self-help books I've bought over the years that lie unread in my bookshelf. I also have a few courses I've signed up for and haven't done to completion. So how do you ensure that you actually start and finish the courses you've bought?
Here are a few suggestions to help keep you focused to the end!
We hope that some of the tips above help you to get stuck into your online course backlog.
Until next time...
We’re living in strange times! This period we’re in now will be talked about by our grandchildren! They’ll ask what it was like living through the Coronavirus Pandemic and how we felt and weren’t we scared of dying.
People will need to take a number of precautions to reduce the chances of them getting ill. It is quite likely that additional (hopefully shorter) lockdown periods may be necessary to keep the infection rate under control.
However, at some point, it is hoped that scientists will work out a vaccine that can be used to give the majority of people immunity to the virus. Once this is in place and a mass vaccination process has given the general public herd immunity, people will be able to return to ways of behaviour more in line with what was seen before the pandemic struck. Unfortunately, experts estimate that a vaccine is likely to take 12 to 18 months to develop even with a fast track approach. So we should expect that this second phase will not occur for quite some time.
How will behaviour change?
There are undoubtedly going to be changes in the way people behave once lockdown is over. In a word, we’re going to become more reclusive. After 2 months of avoiding contact with others, it’s going to be ingrained in our subconscious behaviour patterns. This will be reinforced by government mandates requiring people to avoid too much contact as a way to mitigate further surges in infections.
You may want to consider getting a background green screen so that you can limit how much of your home colleagues and clients get to see! Many of the video conferencing products allow you to replace your actual background with a virtual background. This works well if you have a solid background colour. The software cannot handle a mixed background colour. These can be purchased online or made by hanging a green sheet behind you.
You cannot work on your bed or the lounge floor for the next 6 months, so if you have been working like this in the hope this work from home phase will soon end, I suggest that you get a desk that is large enough to work on comfortably.
Travel will be curtailed
We can also expect travel both via public transportation and air to be something people consider much more carefully. The practice of popping on a flight from one city to another for a 2-hour meeting will become a much rarer phenomenon. Companies may be more inclined to postpone or cancel large company events, including internal meetings, conferences and parties. You can expect the end of year event to be subdued and local!
The coming months are likely to be tough for many businesses though we believe that for many economies, there’ll be a rapid improvement once the lockdown restrictions are reduced. For those businesses that manage to survive the lockdown and get through those first few months when the impact on the economy is likely to mean continued famine, the land of plenty could well beckon since the lean times will have thinned the competitive herd. The companies and individuals that will do best will be those that adapt to the new realities. The time to start thinking about how you will do so is now.
Maybe go for a run, call some friends you haven't spoken to in a while, clear out your old clothes for charity or sharpen up your skills. And Udemy is the ideal platform for this with a wide range of topics you could upskill yourself on.
To make upskilling yourself even easier, we have discounted our entire course range for the next 30 days with discounts of over 75% across the board. Feel free to share this post with friends or colleagues who might be stuck with little to do.
Just click the link to the course(s) of your choice and take advantage of this "BEAT_COVID19" offer. Remember that you get a money back guarantee on any of our courses, and lifetime access so you can complete the course at your leisure.
Excel Courses (Discounted to between $12.99 and $13.99)
Until next time - keep safe!
Ian and Scott
* Brian Tracy is an American-Canadian motivational speaker and author of several self-improvement books.
Below is our Power BI visualisation on the Covid-19 coronavirus. For more on the background regarding how we put this together, please see our previous blog post.
To interact with the visualisation, please consider clicking on the expand to full view icon on the bottom right hand corner below the visualisation.
You can click on any of the countries in the table to filter for just that country. There are also 2 filters at the top for "Rest of the world" or "China". You can also click for specific regions like Europe or Americas etc.
To clear the filter, either click on white space or click the clear filter icon on the top left hand corner.
What we have found though is that the data WHO provide does have some anomalies. For example, we found cases where the total number of deceased in some countries would drop which is literally a miracle. Digging into these, we found that most of the anomalies have an explanation of some sort. (eg Some deaths were incorrectly attributed to Covid-19 and this was later corrected.) As a result, we decided that a few anomalies found in the inevitable chaos that dealing with a rapidly spreading disease introduces was acceptable.
Once we found a source of data we were happy with, the next problem was getting this into a usable format. The daily situational reports from WHO are published as PDF documents. We had to take these and somehow get them into a data format. This involved converting the PDF to Microsoft Word format and then copying the data from Word to Microsoft Excel.
However, we still had more to do. The way the situation reports gave data was not ideal. For example, the number of cases and new cases were given in one field with the new cases shown as a bracketed number next to the total cases. We needed to split out the new cases from the total cases and have these as 2 separate fields.
We now have an automated process where we simply past the data from the daily situation reports, and refresh our Excel data source. This process takes around 5 minutes which is manageable.
Having found a way to get solid data in a usable format, we were able to build a visualisation using Power BI. We can now update our visualisation with the new data on a daily basis and it's available for public consumption. We published the dashboard to the Power BI server for access by anyone who wants to view it. We've published the actual visualisation in it's own dedicated blog post click HERE to see it. Our plan is to keep this updated as new data comes in.
We hope you find this interesting.
That's all for now...
Scott (and big thanks to Ian for all his hard work in making this visualisation happen!)
Online learning (or e-learning) is a rapidly growing industry that offers a host of benefits to individuals and businesses.
For several years, Data Insight Training has partnered with one of the leading online learning platforms - Udemy.com. Courses on Udemy cover the range from Algebra to Zoology, and each course is rated by students, making it easy to figure out which courses are worth your time.
Data Insight Training’s courses cover our speciality area of Data Analysis with 14 courses, with top-rated courses such as “Powerful Reports and Dashboards with Microsoft Power BI” and “Complete Introduction to Business Data Analysis”. As a special offer to celebrate the month of love, all our courses are available at over 80% off their standard price. Just click the link and select your prefered course.
Remember, with Udemy, once you’ve bought a course, you get lifetime access no matter how many times the course gets updated. You also get a 30 day money back guarantee so if you decide the course is not what you expected, you won’t be out of pocket. So there is very little downside.
Udemy also offers Udemy for Business, where businesses can sign up for Udemy and get access to thousands of courses for all their staff.
So, whether you are an individual looking to brush up your skills so you can get that next promotion, or a business looking to improve your employee engagement and motivation (and your bottom line), online learning deserves very serious consideration.
For a full list of Data Insight Training's courses on Udemy, click here and start your online learning journey.
It's the month of love! But it seems that love is expensive. We thought we'd help you out by giving you over 80% off our online Udemy courses for the month. The links are below...
To ensure you have enough money left to spoil your loved ones this February, we're offering our top-rated Udemy online courses at over 80% off. Click the link below for the course of interest.
Power BI Courses
* Powerful Reports and Dashboards with Microsoft Power BI
* Power BI Master Class - Dashboards and Power BI Service
* Power BI Master Class - Data Modeling and DAX Formulas
* Power BI Master Class - Query Editor
Data Analysis Courses
* Complete Introduction to Business Data Analysis
* Complete introduction to Methods of Data Analysis
* Tables and Formulas with Excel
* Excel Interactive Dashboards and Data Analysis
* Excel Master Class - Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts
* Excel Master Class-Power Pivot - Data Model and DAX Formulas
* Excel Master Class-Power Query-Consume and Transform Data
Google Data Studio Courses
* Google Analytics Reports and Dashboards with Data Studio
* Data Analysis and Dashboards with Google Data Studio
* Data Analysis with Google Sheets Pivot Tables and Charts
Did you know there is a quitters day? It’s the day when statistically, people are most likely to give up on their resolutions for the new year! Strava (the fitness social network app) recently announced that for 2020, quitters day appears to be January 19.
At Data Insight Training, we don't want you to be a quitter. In fact, we are committed to helping you succeed in making yourself better in 2020 and get data analysis fit! So we’re offering our Udemy online courses to you at just $9.99 each for 5 days to motivate you over this psychological barrier.
Click the link below, sign up for a course and complete it when you are ready to (lifetime access). Being better starts with the first step.
Power BI Courses
Google Data Studio Courses
We hope you enjoy the courses you select!
Ian & Scott
We’re kicking off the new year with a renewed focus on making you a better version of yourself in 2020.
We don’t have to tell you that skills relating to data analysis are increasingly in demand in today’s workplace. Study after study shows that skills like data and business analysis are becoming essential in jobs ranging from finance to HR and marketing to manufacturing.
We want to invite you to join us on this journey and invest in yourself in 2020. Make the most of the opportunities that come your way by taking a course (or two, or more) that makes you a more valuable asset. We have our excellent classroom and virtual training options but we also have our online courses available to you.
We’ve got 14 data analytics courses, all with excellent reviews, available for you right now! For the next 4 days we’re offering a discounted price of just $9.99 for each course! You need to sign up for the course today but will then have unlimited access, meaning you can do the course anytime that suits you, this offer expires at midnight GMT on 20 January 2020.
Just click on the links below and you’ll be taken to the courses you're interested in.
Data Analysis Courses
Google Data Studio Courses
The fourth video in my "Complete Introduction to" series focuses on Excel Power Pivot. Power Pivot is another incredibly powerful feature within Excel. It was first introduced to Excel in 2010 as an add-in, which was freely available to all Excel 2010 users. In Excel 2013 Microsoft integrated Power Pivot into Excel, but sadly created separate licencing for the product so now you require a Pro Plus license to access it.
Why is Power Pivot so important to Excel users? Because it is a powerful data analysis tool that does not have a number of the restrictions that Excel does and eliminates the need to use complicated formulas like VLookUp and HLookUp. It can store millions of records of data, easily create relationships between different tables of data and introduces the DAX formula language, which is broadly based on the Excel formulas we already know. Once data is loaded into Power Pivot, you can use Pivot Tables and Charts to analyze the data, just as you would using standard Excel. When you start using DAX (Data Analysis eXpressions) in PowerPivot, you will quickly see the similarities it shares with standard Excel formulas.
In the video I create some simple calculations to show the concept of a calculated column and how to add a measure to the Power Pivot data model. Measures are calculated in the context of the Pivot Table or Pivot Chart and this allows the creation of powerful business intelligence calculations within Excel. In addition to the standard Excel formulas, DAX adds a wide range of new formulas to enhance your data analysis capabilities. One example is the distinct count function which counts the number of unique entries in a field, something that would be very helpful in Excel!
Relationships are another powerful capability in Power Pivot. You will see in the video how quick and easy it is to create the relationship between two Human Resource tables, and once there is a relationship between the two tables, it is easy to create Pivot Tables using fields from both tables
Power Pivot is another amazing Excel technology that will drastically improve your data analysis skills and also the speed to understand your data, without the steep learning curve associated with learning other data analysis programs.
Excel is an amazing tool for analyzing data, but the challenge is understanding what your data is telling you. A problem I find people regularly battle with is that when you start exploring different aspects it’s easy to end up with Analysis Paralysis and getting overwhelmed by how much information is available. In this video I will show you to create powerful interactive dashboards using nothing complex, just simple drag and drop techniques, which will give you the big picture as well as the ability to filter and sort as needed.
Dashboards are the ideal tool for providing a high level overview of what is happening in the business, department, team or project and are traditionally made up of tables of data and graphs that can quickly and easily convey important information.
Before starting to set up a dashboard, you need to decide on your key metrics. These are normally important totals that you want to share, for example, total sales, total profit or average profit per customer. I suggest that the Key Metrics are bold and placed in the top right area of the dashboard as this is where most people will start viewing your dashboard.
Visual elements are another important element of a dashboard as graphs convey a lot of information very simply. A trend graph easily communicates the general trend of data, is the data moving up, down, stable or volatile? Line or area graphs are normally used to communicate trends.
Column and bar charts are used to communicate which items are highest or lowest. These types of graphs provide an understanding of magnitude differences between items and are used to communicate comparisons.
Pie charts can be used to communicate percentage contribution to the whole. It is easy to overcrowd a pie chart by using too many items - so the general rule of thumb is to keep the number of items down to no more than 5 to 7 items.
Colour also plays an important role because they convey subconscious messages. When designing dashboards, I suggest not using too many colours and to keep in mind the impact of the colours you choose (ie. green is associated with good and red is associated with bad). My advise is to use use soft grays, browns or blues for backgrounds and bold colours for the key things you’d like to highlight.
A key point I’d like to bring your attention to, is that while I’m going through the processes of how to create an interactive dashboard in Excel using only Pivot Tables, Pivot Charts and Slicers, I never use complex formulas, VBA or macros. Microsoft have really moved away from these complicated methods and made things simple for all Excel business users.
I hope you enjoy this video and if you are interested in learning more about creating interactive dashboards with Excel, please have a look at our on-site classroom courses and online or virtual courses.
In my opinion, Pivot Tables are the most powerful feature in Microsoft Excel. They make aggregating, summarising and performing powerful data analysis quick and easy.
Sadly, most seasoned Excel users have very little or no understanding of what Pivot Tables can do so the most powerful feature in Excel is also the most under-utilised. There seems to be a widespread misconception that Pivot Tables are difficult to work with, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In this video I will show you how easy Pivot Tables are to use. You will see there are no complicated formulas and all I do is use drag and drop techniques to create management reports in a few clicks of the mouse.
One of my most popular classroom training courses is a two days course on Pivot Tables and the amount of joy I see in people's eyes when they realise how much time they can save by simply changing the way they work is indescribable!
Over the course of the next few weeks we're going to be releasing a series of videos in our "Complete Introduction to" series. The idea behind the series is to provide a comprehensive introduction to a variety of different data analysis and business intelligence tools and techniques so that business users can fully understand the tools available to them, and how they can work smarter not harder.
The first video for the series will introduce you to Microsoft Power BI.
One of the biggest selling points of Microsoft Power BI is that, because it's based on the Excel platform, the millions of Excel users working with data on a daily basis will find it easy to navigate and not be intimidated by this incredibly powerful tool.
You will see how quickly and easily I produce an interactive report from an Excel spreadsheet using Microsoft Power BI. An Excel spreadsheet of Sales data has been used as the source of the data, but data from many different sources such as databases, .csv and Web sources can just as easily be used.
In the video you'll see how easy it is to format tables of data, perform more advanced functions, like cross filtering, and add visualisations, such as column charts, line graphs and pie graphs, resulting in a detailed, interactive sales report emerging in minutes!
The Microsoft Power BI Query Editor gives you a wide variety of options that allow you to transform, manipulate and prepare your data. It allows for perform simple and advanced tasks such as:
A big component of Power BI is it's unique programming formula language called DAX but don't be put off because, as I said at the beginning, Power BI is based on Excel, so many of the DAX formulas are the same and when you start using Power BI you should find yourself picking it up very quickly.
At the end of the video I show you how to publish the report into the Power BI Service. The Power BI Service allows you to share the report to other users using a web browser, smartphones or tablets. I also show how to create a dashboard in the Power BI Service which makes it easier to access your content through mobile devices.
Last but not least, I demonstrate how to use natural language queries (Q&A) to ask questions of your data. This powerful feature allows you to type in questions in a natural way and have Power BI provide the answers to them. I can ask 'What is my total Sales?' or 'What is my Sales in Italy?'and take it even further by asking 'What is my Sales by Product Category in Italy as a Column graph? This function fundamentally changes that way that users can interact and ask questions of their data.
One of the most common challenges that faces Excel users is having two separate sets of data that need to be referenced for reporting purposes.
In this video I show you how to use Power BI to create a relationship between two spreadsheets in order to create a report using information from both.
I've used a common challenge which many HR professionals encounter, where there are two sets of data, an employee training file (which records all training done by every employee) and an employee master file (which has details for each employee such as department, gender, marital status etc). I show you how to create quick reports and graphs to easily visualise information such as total training cost by department or percentage training costs by gender. In Excel, these reports traditionally take a long time because they require complicated formulas and VLookUps but in Power BI it's done in a few simple clicks.
For more information on our training, please look at our classroom training courses.
Our previous post "Data or People? What is the most important resource in a business?" discussed the importance of developing your staff data analysis capabilities.
Here we will outline the key steps in the journey to being able to use the latest technologies and techniques to produce reports and analysis. The following is focused on users who primarily work with spreadsheets and use Excel.
Step 1 - Learn to use Pivot Tables
Pivot Tables will speed up the time taken to produce reports and analyse your data tremendously. An important aspect of Pivot Tables is that you need to understand how to structure and format your data for Pivot Tables to work effectively.
Step 2 - Create a Data Model
New technologies such as Power Pivot and Power BI allow Excel users to easily create powerful data models. Data models allow you to easily centralise the storage of your data, calculations (business logic) and create relationships between the tables of data. Data models make it much quicker and easier to develop reports and speeds up your processes.
Step 3 - Learn some Analysis Techniques
Once you have an engine for the production of your reports, you need to learn how to ask questions of your data. There are many different types of analysis that can be performed on your data - comparison, trend, ranking, contribution, variance, frequency etc. are some examples. Add a bit of simple statistics and you will find a whole new world of interpreting and understanding your data.
Visual analysis is a growing field of importance. Learn which graphs to use with which type of data. Visual analysis provides critical understanding of patterns and relationships within data.
Step 4 - Time for New Data
Technology such as Power Query makes it easy to access new data and to mash them up with existing tables of data. However the data may not always arrive in a format that is easy to use for data analysis. This is where you need to know how to use different methods to transform, append and merge data that creates powerful new data sets for different insights.
Step 5 - Share your Insights
Data analysis is of no use if we are not able to share the new insight and knowledge. Learning how to create effective reports and dashboards that can easily communicate key insights and information to your audience. Being able to tell a story about what your data means is a skill that will develop over time as your experience develops.
Unfortunately often trial and error is required to find the best methods of what resonates with your audience and what does not. My advice is start simple with your presentations. Your audience will quickly tell you what they want.
The ability to manage and use data in an effective and efficient manner has become critical to the continued viability and success of most businesses. Data is the key resource to informing decision making. It can be argued that data has become as important as cash when it comes to running a sustainable and profitable business in today's complex and uncertain business environment.
So why is it that so few businesses have a strategy and plan for the training and skills development of their knowledge workers to develop data expertise and capability? Many of today's knowledge workers spend countless hours working with data using obsolete technologies and techniques. I am continually amazed to see how many businesses are still running old style Excel spreadsheets with quadrillions of formulas in a multitude of sheets that nobody understands. A lot of business are running a lot of its processes through spreadsheets, and ;ets not kid ourselves, this a potentially very dangerous situation!
Its probably fair to say that a lot of businesses are basically running on Microsoft Excel.
So my question to them is how many staff members have been properly trained to use the full Excel suite, including Pivot Tables, Power Query, Power Pivot and Microsoft Power BI? We can even go a step backwards and ask how many businesses have trained their staff on the basics of data and visual analysis?
My own anecdotal evidence from having trained thousands of people in the past 15 years is that not many people have received proper training in these technologies and techniques. I normally find that people have a basic understanding of Pivot Tables, which they either learnt from the person sitting next to them or as part of a course they did which just touched on them, and have little or no knowledge of Power Query, Power Pivot and Power BI.
The reality is that data is useless unless it's transformed into information. I often see CEOs complaining that their companies are data rich, but information poor.
So what should businesses do? I would recommend that the people who are knowledge workers and regularly work with data should be identified and then trained in this field to improve their skills and capabilities. We have proven that by simply changing the way you use Excel, you can become 80% more productive in 20% of the time.
People who are trained to analyze data and that can ask meaningful questions of data are invaluable to any business who wants to make good business decisions that are driven by all the data they already have. These people are able to:
So in summary, data is useless without the people who have the right skills to understand how to work with it and businesses should therefore focus first on ensuring their people have the right skills and training to work with data before attempting to make data driven decisions.
Every year, Gartner releases their annual Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence platforms. In the report, they evaluate the strengths & weaknesses of the main service providers in the marketplace as well as providing a graph plotting these providers based on their ability to execute and their completeness of vision.
For the past 12 years, Microsoft has been slowly moving higher, but since 2016, the movement has been significant, with them being one of the leaders for the past 3 years and now pulling ahead to take the lead in 2019.
Since it's release in 2014, Power BI has rapidly evolved and grown to become a formidable challenger in the analytics and BI sphere. What a lot of people don't realise is that Microsoft is offering an ecosystem, not just Power BI. Low cost of entry has contributed to the high adoption rate of a product that is only 4 years old. Anyone can use Power BI Desktop for free. This single user offering includes data cleaning and preparation, custom visualizations and the ability to publish to the Power BI service. The Power BI Pro plan includes data collaboration, data governance, building dashboards with a 360-degree real-time view and the ability to publish reports anywhere and includes a 60 day free trial. Microsoft have also bundled it with the Office 365 E5 version, as well as embedded it in Microsoft Azure, so there really are a huge number of options available with total implementation costs being significantly lower than the competition.
Looking forward, Microsoft is now putting a lot of focus onto "Pervasive AI using Power BI". Their advancements in AI are being integrated into their BI stack for generic use, for both citizen data scientists and business analysts. Power BI’s automated capabilities with AI-infused experiences such as natural language, quick insights, image recognition, text analytics, and key driver analysis are new and has leaving the competition behind. They are leveraging the innovation from Microsoft Research with heavy investments into these integrations and constant updates. Add to this the frequent updates (Microsoft has been releasing monthly updates for the last 12 months) in a wide spectrum of categories, including reporting, modeling, analytics, data connectivity, data preparation, Power BI service, Power BI mobile and Power BI embedded as well as the investment in a broad set of visionary capabilities and integrating them with Power BI (examples include enhancements to augmented analytics, new AutoML features available in Azure Machine Learning and new Azure cognitive services) it's clear that they are committed to keeping their lead!
In a nutshell, there are a number of reasons, aside from ease of use (which users gave top-third ratings across all aspects for) and cost that so many of the estimated one billion Excel users worldwide are adopting Power BI as their go-to BI and analytics tool.
So far we have looked at comparison analysis, trend analysis, key metrics analysis and ranking analysis. The last form of analysis I would like to look at is contribution analysis.
Contribution analysis is about understanding what the percentage contribution of each item is and how it contributes to the total. The reality is that the human brain is not great at understanding large numbers, so it's much easier to understand percentages.
Percentages are always done in the context of a the total being 100%, so it's very quick to see whether a percentage is a smaller amount like 10% or a large amount like 70% regardless of what the actual numbers are that are used to get the percentage.
The pie graph is probably the misused and abused visualisation and I generally steer clear of using it, however one place that it can be used appropriately is for contribution analysis and to display the proportion in relation to the whole. But whenever I teach on this, I always give a few rules to follow when creating pie graphs. These are:
The next types of analysis I'm going to focus on are Key Metrics and Ranking Analysis.
Key metrics displays one key piece of information prominently (examples include total sales, total profit or total number of customers) and by using ratios you can get deeper insight and more information from your key metrics. For example we could create key metrics for displaying the profit ratio (which is the total profit divided by total sales) where the profit ratio is displayed as a percentage, this makes it easier to see what portion of your sales is profit.
Another ratio that can be calculated is the average sale per customer or the average profit per customer. In this case you would divide the total sales by the number of customers and the total profit by the number of customers, so by using three key metrics you have now created three new key metrics using ratios which gives further insight into your data.
Ranking analysis is about understanding the top/bottom values within a range. The simplest form of ranking is to do a sort from highest to lowest or lowest to highest but there are many more rankings that can be done.
Top 10 or bottom 10 is one of the common method of analysis to highlight the items that are contributing the highest or lowest within your data set. Filtering your items to only show the top 5, 10 or 20 makes it easier for you or your audience to view the most important items in a table, rather than displaying a long list of items. A top 10 or bottom 10 analysis can also be combined with your column or bar graphs to restrict the number of items that are displayed in the graph.
You can also use a top/bottom percentage filter, in other words limiting the list of items to the top 20% or bottom 20% and this again easily allows your audience to focus in on the key values within the data set.
Regardless of what job you do, you will regularly make decisions, and in order to make these decisions, you need data. Data surrounds us and, whether we know it or not, data informs our decisions so being able to analyse data means being able to make better decisions.
As technology has progressed, it's become easier to put systems in place to handle data, but it's also increased the amount of data we have available to us so we're constantly looking for easier ways to see the story behind the data. The introduction of computerised spreadsheets was a big moment in data analysis because suddenly anyone could input information, run a formula or create a graph and find an answer and as these tools have progressed, the access to information has exploded!
As a trainer and consultant, I've chosen to focus on data analysis and using Excel and Power BI in order to analyse data. I spend a lot of time teaching people how to use these tools but I also spend time teaching different forms of data analysis because what a lot of people don't realise is that knowing WHAT questions to ask is as important, if not more important, than being able to put together an impressive dashboard.
The two most basic forms of data analysis are comparison analysis and trend analysis so I'm going to start with them.
A comparisons shows you things like what items sells the most or which product is not doing well. You can compare different months or regions to see where the biggest profit or lowest turnover is, you can also see how much of a difference there is between different products or time periods. Tables are the simplest way to do a comparison analysis, or if you'd like to visualise it then a column or bar graph is best. A pie chart is useful if you're only comparing two or three items but should be avoided for more than this.
The column or bar provide a good indication of how large or small an item is in proportion to the other items that are being displayed. If there are a large number of items in the graph then a bar graph is a better option as the labels are displayed horizontally and are easy to read.
Trend analysis is about understanding how data changes over time. Trends can be understood by many different time dimensions such as year, quarter, month, day of the month, day of the week, week number, hour and second.
Understanding your data over different time periods will provide important insight into whether things are moving up, down, staying stable or is volatile. The analysis of different time periods allows you ask a variety of important questions such as:
When working with trends you should use a line graph or area graph. The line graph will provide a good understanding of the general trend over time. A trend line is often added to the line graph and provides a good visual indicator of the trend.
An area graph is a good option for when you want to include a comparison and see how it is trending. For example an item could start off small, but grow over time, an area graph is a good method to display this information.