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Ed Tufte Lives: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information and Storytelling

Recently at the MIT Sloan School Sports and Analytics Conference, I had the great fortune to reunite with Ed Tufte, my sophomore year Economics professor at Yale. Ed is now a Professor Emeritus at Yale, author of multiple best-selling books, and as active as ever in using graphics to display data.

And when I was watching sessions from SAPPHIRE NOW this year, I immediately thought of him – wondering if he would enjoy some of the cool ways the latest analytics techniques were showcased.

Visualize Digital.jpgThe session on Visualizing the Digital Economy was fascinating, using visual representation to visualize and portray the Digital Economy.  Like Tufte’s famous “multiple dimensions in one picture” (Napoleon’s march as the winter and conditions deteriorated) I found the Digital Economy and Internet of Things (IoT) visualization absolutely amazing. The visual evolution from the Internet of Computers and Internet of People to the Internet of Things showcases the massive increase in scale and consequently data that the IoT will bring. 

With this visualization, I realized that our journey to the cloud, the proliferation of Big Data, and mobile devices is just the start. The main innovation is the addition of sensor technology and the estimated 7 billion devices that will be linked to 26 billion connected things in 2020. The IoT is definitely shaping up to the Internet of Everything soon!People to the Internet of Things showcases the massive increase in scale and consequently data that the IoT will bring.

Closer to home, the SAP Service & Support Center featured a series of customer workshops focused on specific topics including SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud and the journey to SAP S/4HANA.

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An artist used a graphical rendering to summarize the main points of these

sessions and posted the graphic at the event and online each day.

Could you imagine using this approach within your business practices, such as design thinking and innovation management? Imagine the possibilities and benefits — they are endless!

Read my Storify virtual trip report that highlights my parallel social media coverage and commentary during the event.

About Fred Isbell

Fred Isbell is Senior Marketing Director for SAP Services & Support Marketing for Thought Leadership, Demand Management and Planning for the worldwide Services & Support Marketing team. A 15-year veteran of SAP, he formerly led SAP Global Services Marketing Field Engagement, the North American

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SAP Services regional marketing team and SMB Channels Marketing for the SAP Small and Midsize Business team. Prior to SAP, he held a variety of senior solutions, services, and partner marketing roles with Compaq and Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). Fred is an honors graduate of Yale University with a BA in Economics and Political Science, and has an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business where he was a Fuqua Scholar. A passionate sports and hockey fan/player, he is a MA/USA Hockey advanced patch coach and includes coaching and playing hockey with his three kids among his favorite moments in life.

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