It is a com­mon axiom in dig­i­tal ana­lyt­ics that data and insights are not syn­ony­mous. Most canned reports and graphs in any ana­lyt­ics tool on the planet pro­vide inter­est­ing data, but require con­text, inter­ac­tion, and thought in order to become insight­ful and ulti­mately pro­duce out­comes that grow your busi­ness. For many ana­lysts, the trans­for­ma­tion from data to insight can be a time-consuming and oner­ous process.

How­ever, great data visu­al­iza­tion can help bridge that gap. SaaS-based ana­lyt­ics tools can take advan­tage of (and in many cases already are tak­ing advan­tage of) advanced visu­al­iza­tion libraries such as D3 (Data-Driven Doc­u­ments) which allow ven­dors, includ­ing Adobe, to turn those bor­ing bar charts into pow­er­ful, inter­ac­tive expe­ri­ences that allow you and your col­leagues to under­stand your data in new and excit­ing ways.

But we need your help. The best of these visu­al­iza­tion libraries require mod­ern browser tech­nolo­gies to bring the full value out of your data. We’ve seen adop­tion of mod­ern browsers increase over the last few years, but we want all our clients to take advan­tage of the advanced visu­al­iza­tions. Last month, 21.7% of Adobe Ana­lyt­ics users accessed Site­Cat­a­lyst using a browser ver­sion that does not sup­port scal­able vec­tor graph­ics. That’s a large num­ber for any ven­dor who wants to pro­vide their cus­tomers with a way to get from data to insights to rec­om­men­da­tions more quickly and effec­tively than ever before. This blog post is a result of the insight based on that data point com­bined with the knowl­edge of what we want to do.

Nearly 100% of those users cited above are on IE 8 or older; Microsoft began to sup­port the tech­nolo­gies behind these advanced visu­al­iza­tions as of IE 9. Fire­fox, Chrome, and Safari have been sup­port­ing them for years.

At Adobe, we are aggres­sively look­ing into these visu­al­iza­tion libraries because we see the value they can pro­vide across the breadth of the data you are cap­tur­ing in Adobe Ana­lyt­ics. And we will move for­ward with these plans because of this value. How­ever, I want all Site­Cat­a­lyst users to be able to take advan­tage of the full power of these features.

In a future release of Adobe Ana­lyt­ics, if your browser does not sup­port mod­ern visu­al­iza­tions (again, mostly IE 8 and older) you (and/or your users) will see a mes­sage invit­ing you to upgrade IE or choose an alter­nate browser (Google Chrome, Fire­fox, etc.). We will even pro­vide links to the down­load pages for these browsers. Of course, we will con­tinue to improve the expe­ri­ence for all browsers, and you’ll always be able to get your data, but new web tech­nolo­gies require new web browsers, and we hope that as a con­sumer of data and insights you will choose to upgrade to take full advan­tage of these visu­al­iza­tions, not just in Adobe Ana­lyt­ics but in a wide vari­ety of cur­rent and future dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing tools. To be clear, you will want to be on IE 9, Chrome, Fire­fox, Safari, or another mod­ern browser as soon as pos­si­ble. You can choose one of these browsers from http://​update​browser​.net or one of many sim­i­lar sites.

We rec­og­nize that in some cases, IT depart­ments do not allow browser upgrades or alter­na­tive browser usage. Now would be a great time to begin mak­ing the case for mod­ern browser sup­port (or at least an excep­tion for users of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing tools like Adobe Ana­lyt­ics). Per­haps this blog post will help your case, because this change is hap­pen­ing. It is worth not­ing that mobile oper­at­ing sys­tem browsers (Safari for iOS, Chrome for Android, and IE 10 in Win­dows 8) already sup­port these visu­al­iza­tion libraries.

In late Sep­tem­ber 2012, USA Today pre­pared to debut a redesign of its site. When a user hit the home page, he or she saw a mes­sage stat­ing that “The new USATO​DAY​.com has been opti­mized for mod­ern browsers,” with a link to a page explain­ing how to down­load such a browser. If mass media sites are ready for expe­ri­ences that require newer browsers, you’d bet­ter believe SaaS dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is ready. We hope that you are ready, or will get ready, because the future of insights in Adobe Ana­lyt­ics is really exciting.

P.S.: Just for fun, here’s a lit­tle proof-of-concept cour­tesy of the guy who sits across from me—Nate Ross, one of our visu­al­iza­tion engineers.

what a future visualization in SiteCatalyst might look like