Using 3D Visuals to Improve Data Access and Analysis

Having vast amounts of data at hand doesn’t necessarily help executives make better decisions. In fact, without a simple way to access and analyze the astronomical amounts of available information, it is easy to become frozen with indecision, knowing the answers are likely in the data, but unsure how to find them.

Analytical applications are needed to help extract meaningful, relevant information from the volumes of data constantly being generated by businesses and their customers.  According to a 2011 study by IDC Research, there are as many bits of information in our digital universe as there are stars in our physical universe, and the amount of data is predicted to continue doubling every 2 years. However, finding the right tool can be a challenge, especially considering that the number of companies selling data analysis solutions is almost as prolific as big data itself (well, not quite, but you get the point).

With so many companies proclaiming to offer salvation from all data issues, one of the most important factors to consider when selecting a solution is ease of use. An intuitive interface based on how people already operate in the real world is the key to adoption and usage throughout an organization. Today, that means information must be presented in a visual, 3D graphical format.

3D Visualization Technology

For enterprise organizations, 3D visualization tools take data from in-house programs, such as CAD, PLM, manufacturing execution systems (MES), or ERP systems, and combine them with ultra-sophisticated visual software to create amazing 3D graphics. The visual representation of information can then be analyzed, shared and manipulated in a way that is easy and familiar to all users.

Companies that have implemented visualization technology have seen results ranging from greater inter-departmental collaboration, faster product development processes and smarter go-to-market strategies. Below are three examples of the numerous improvements typically seen with a 3D visualization solution:

Enhanced collaboration between departments and throughout the supply chain. 

“A typical global manufacturing value chain could have as many as 1,000 potential users who could benefit from their company’s product data, but simply can’t access it or lack the tools or expertise to use it.” (The Advent of Visual Manufacturing, David Prawel, Longview Advisors.) One of the biggest benefits of 3D visuals is that users don’t need to be IT experts to create, open or understand the information presented. In fact, translating complex data into a user-friendly, graphical format ensures everyone can access the same data and use it to make decisions within their areas of expertise. The more input provided on the project at hand, the better the results.  This is a tremendous improvement over traditional business processes, which inadvertently confine information in functional, regional or divisional “silos."

Rapid access to more comprehensive information from integrated, in memory visual and business data. 

Combining 3D visualization with in-memory database technology, that has nearly unlimited scalability and can perform extremely complex calculations in just seconds, gives companies near instant access to their operational data. With this integration, executives can easily and visually peruse data, see areas of interest and immediately access the business data associated with images. This complete information is available in real-time as decision makers need it, rather than in hours, days, or weeks like in the past.  

Streamlined operations and product development cycles for improved profitability. 

Leveraging 3D models to present information in a visual context means less and more efficient work. Using the model as the basis for processes and procedures streamlines the creation of required documents, product manuals, catalogs and marketing collateral by eliminating substantial amounts of text. Also, if the content must be produced in multiple languages, translation costs are reduced dramatically.  Additionally, visual 3D communications allows multi-departmental activities to be performed concurrently, such as creating marketing materials while making product revisions. Giving people the right data at the right time improves operational efficiency, allows for better utilization of existing resources, and shortens product time-to-market cycles.

3D Visualizations Support Faster Decisions

3D visual communication technology helps people work together in order to make faster, smarter business decisions. It lowers costs and improves productivity by eliminating work and focusing all resources on the same outcome.  Best of all, converting complicated data into easy to understand visual information encourages everyone to contribute their unique perspectives. The result is innovation unlike anything seen before – faster, more creative and higher quality ideas. It’s a sustainable, competitive advantage that will be critical to success in the ever-changing business environment that companies face today.