Data visualization tools emerge

Data visualization is back on the map as a host of emerging vendors unveil products designed to help enterprises analyze reams of information.

Antarctica Systems Inc. next week will unwrap Version 4.0 of its Visual Net software designed to present map-based visual representations of complex data from sources such as databases, BI tools, and ERP applications.

The real pain point in applications and data stores is at the UI level, said Tim Bray, founder and CTO of Antarctica Systems. In fact, tools such as BI typically suffer low adoption rates because of their complexity.

“What got everyone using computers is the advent of the GUI,” Bray said. “We are a GUI for information spaces.”

Visual Net 4.0 adds a visual configuration wizard that allows users to point and click to hook up back-end data records to the display front end. In addition, added support for DHTML brings a cleaner, more compelling user interface, Bray said.

TheBrain Technologies Corp. recently released a Lotus Notes Connector Version 1.0 for its BrainEKP (Enterprise Knowledge Platform), which provides a relational, visual interface for multiple data repositories. The connector allows users to see a graphical representation of Lotus Notes information in the context of company projects, customer accounts, and business processes.

Next month Mindjet GmbH will add XML support to its MindManager X5 Pro mapping and collaboration software. MindManager creates visual representations of the thinking and planning stages of the collaborative process.

Data visualization can make existing tools more effective by conveying data faster and allowing users to see changes in the data more readily, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at The Enderle Group.

“If you are just receiving raw data, it is difficult to determine trends and to quickly respond to changes in the environment,” Enderle said.