The fundamentals of management information – P
More mysterious than you might think because it hides its tricks from us. For example, we see things clearly and colorfully only in sections the size of a thumbnail at arm’s length. The limitations of perception make → visualization tricky, unless we consciously use these limitations to steer the eye to where we want it to look. This requires the right visualization and → AI, the latter being needed to determine – with the aid of data-based algorithms – where it makes sense to guide the eye to. → Graphical Tables and our Bissantz’Numbers provide the right visualization.
The human ability to rapidly process simple visual signals and recognize new relationships even when they are incomplete or blurry. In this regard, humans are still superior to machines. DeltaMaster combines the strengths of both man and machine by choosing the highest possible level of automation for all sub-steps that can be delegated to the computer and using graphical forms that support and facilitate the recognition of peculiarities. Some algorithms even simulate the human recognition process.
Values expressed as a fraction of 100 to facilitate comparisons. We encounter percentages as margins, rates, and shares. We say: who cares about relative values? Sorting tables by margins and rages instead of absolute values, highlighting relative values in charts, or use them solely in tables in place of absolute values is dangerous. Margins and rates direct your attention to effects that are not very relevant or have a small base. They only appear to make things comparable. This, in turn, has to do with the fact that they reference themselves. Shares are slightly different because you usually know the sum which they reference. In DeltaMaster, graphic tables provide an elegant solution for some of these problems. Bars for absolute values show the relative meaning of one object in comparison to the others without needing a special percentage calculation.
A concept that we felt was missing in the theory of perception so that we could define basic → integrity rules. In the case of lines, you primarily notice how steep or flat they run. In bars or columns, however, it is the sheer length. Dot lines, in comparison, are similar to columns but work like lines. And there are rules which you can derive from all of that – for example, that you should not chop off the bottoms of columns and generally apply a logarithmic scale to lines. When generating charts, DeltaMaster automatically applies built-in rules of integrity so that the user doesn’t have to worry about perspective priority.
A commonly used, yet heavily chastised chart form. As the visualization expert Edward Tufte once said, „The only worse design than a pie chart is several of them.“ Generally speaking, you should only use a pie chart when the data displayed actually represents a whole. Yet even that rule is frequently ignored. It is difficult to intuitively compare different-sized pieces of the pie. Since they are difficult to label, the human eye has to jump back and forth in order to read them. When they are well done, pie charts – even several of them – can be an attractive, easy-to-understand visualization form. That is why DeltaMaster offers them as a component of → graphic tables. Pie charts have a bad reputation because people commonly use them in scenarios where bars would have been the better alternative. Bella has already howled about that many times.
Expression of a company’s intentions to penetrate the market. DeltaMaster intertwines analysis, planning, and reporting and supports these processes with helpful functions such as data entry, automatic allocations, input forwarding, and comments. Simple workflow functions foster good team work and ensure that different planning steps are all completed in the proper order.
Segmentation of business units, products, customers, sales regions, etc. by two measures which form a four-field matrix through their X and Y axes. Originally, Boston Consulting Group suggested using portfolio analyses to show relative market share, relative market growth, and norm strategies by segment. DeltaMaster supports them as a standard business analysis with many extras (e.g. the option to save the segmentation as a virtual hierarchy) that provide deeper insights.
Common format for presenting reports. PowerPoint is very rigid, has low → resolution, and does not support scrolling, moving, or zooming. Its reports and data are frozen, which guarantees no unpleasant surprises during the presentation and a great deal of work to update them. If PowerPoint becomes the only written report format, we will all have a problem on our hands. Both space shuttle crashes from NASA have been brought in connection with our modern slideshow culture. DeltaMaster uses PowerPoint as an output format and can fix its update weaknesses through embedded live reports that you can update by hitting the “F9” key. We personally, however, recommend using the interactive presentation mode in DeltaMaster instead because it makes presentations more impressive and enjoyable, which help hold your audience’s attention.
The practical side of reporting with enormous responsibility on behalf of the presentor. You don’t just create reports for someone’s personal perusal. More often, you create them to present them to a group – typically, on a wall using an LCD projector. The typical procedure is to export them to → PowerPoint because the presenters want to preserve their own nerves during the presentation. Nevertheless, LCD projectors have a relatively low resolution and PowerPoint has its pitfalls as well. Using the presentation mode in DeltaMaster, you can make a presentation as you normally would in PowerPoint. As questions arise, however, you can use its interactive functionality. These presentations work very well on a → large-screen monitor.