Every company values collaboration in the workplace, but if you want truly productive internal communication happening all the time, the first step is to arm your employees with the data that drives results.

If you didn’t learn it in kindergarten, you’re learning it now: collaboration is key. Just like when you were a kid, good communication leads to group projects that are done better and completed faster. Now, though, that group project could end up being the next big thing in your industry.

Employees often intuit the importance of working together, and the vast majority of employees claim to understand value of teamwork.

But in spite of this almost universal consensus, almost 40% of respondents admit that they’re working in office environments with subpar communication. So how can you close the gap between your employees’ needs and your company’s collaborative culture?

The answer lies in the data — specifically, in your workers’ ability to use it. Every single day that your company is open for business, it generates countless pieces of information about consumers, employees, products, and more.

But offices in large, traditional companies often have no infrastructure in place to extract value from that information, or to make it equally available to all employees. Only once your workers have access points into your business’s vault of data can they effectively collaborate.

The Necessity of Visualization

But if big data isn’t made visible, it might as well be trashed. Clear and engaging presentation helps tell the story behind the numbers, and that narrative is vital to making data useful and accessible.

For example, in 2009, the U.S. government made a push to provide citizens with data that would both increase federal transparency and stimulate the economy.

But because the APIs weren’t intuitive or user-friendly, the information was underutilized and often completely ignored by the public. In short, data’s worth nothing if it’s inaccessible.

The Perfect Fix

Businesses need to convert illegible clumps of data into contextualized information, and that takes more than churning facts and figures into spreadsheets. By automating the way your company collects and analyzes data, you can start enhancing collaboration without draining your time and talent. Using data visualization compounds this effort by additionally making this information easier to consume.

Modern collaboration is fostered when you move resources away from the task of data entry and analysis and towards finding new ways to aggregate, organize, and visualize your company’s information.

Once every branch of your business has access to clearly displayed data, they can finally get on the same page, making sure every employee’s activities and priorities are aligned with company goals, not just those of their own department.