I am currently doing visualization on my project and I need to know whether the visualization I have done is BI visualization or not.

So is there any difference between Visualization and BI Visualization? If yes, then what are the differences?

  • $\begingroup$ I guess that BI visualization means "Business Intelligence Visualization". Is this correct ? Is this really a fixed term / name (like K-Means) or just a description for "visualization used in Business Intelligence environment" ? $\endgroup$
    – steffen
    Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ @steffen yea, it is Business Intelligence Visualization. I had heard a lot about BI Visualization and need to confirm whether there is any difference between visualization and BI Visualization. $\endgroup$
    – nKandel
    Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 12:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A trivial answer is that much visualization is not aimed at business and as such can hardly be said to fall under that heading. A more interesting question is whether there are visualization methods that are distinct to business (data or audience). It is easy to guess that some methods are much more popular when aimed at business, but that doesn't seem a very deep point. All in all, it is hard to think that seeking a distinction serves very much purpose. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 13:44

2 Answers 2


BI is obsolete term used as marketing umbrella for various companies (like IBM, Oracle or SAP) to create illusion that they are relevant.

Data Visualization (DV) is a more specific and modern term: DV allowing users to see, explore, drilldown and interact with their data. It is a huge variety of DV vendors, but 3 of them are way ahead of others (Spotfire/TIBCO, Tableau, Qlikview/Qliktech) if you do not wish to do much coding and focus on your data and business problems. However if you willing to do some own development, you can find some excellent SDKs on market (D3 as a leading example), which can enable you to do useful visualizations but it will require more of your time and reduce your overall productivity.

In any case Data Visualization cannot provide a complete solution to your analytical problems and needs to be used together with analytical tools like R.

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    $\begingroup$ highchart is a good tool and your question is very fuzzy. what you will do with answer? how it will help you? can you share your visualization and why you did it? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 13:04

A lift chart (and the measurement of uplift in general) is a decent example of a business-centric visualization: they seem to be used mostly for marketing and related applications. I can imagine some non-business situations where a lift chart would be an effective tool, but I don't think I've ever come across one of them in the wild. To confirm this hunch, I took a quick look at the Google Image results for lift chart, and the first page seems business-y (the labels say "marketing campaign" or "customers" etc).

Nick Cox's comment on the question is apt. Some visualizations might not make sense in a business context (state space diagrams?). Others might be over-represented, either due to the subject matter or just by convention (e.g., some of these lift charts look suspiciously like ROC curves in disguise).

If you wondering whether visualization experience in general would qualify you for a BI Visualization job, I'd say yes, but you might want to poke around a bit to make sure you produce "idiomatic" charts that match your customer/client/employers' expectations.


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