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Data Story: How to Communicate Business Insights Effectively

Vladan Pantelic / November 3, 2021

A fantastic data story expresses complex ideas with precision, clarity, efficiency, and creativity. All this needs to make business sense too. Don’t simply show your data, analyzed or raw; tell a story with it! An excellent dashboard has to have the ability to tell a creative story through the graphical depiction of statistical information. 

Few forms of communication are as persuasive as a compelling narrative. The data visualization needs to tell a story to the audience and help the viewer gain insight from the data (For a great example, check this data story).  

So, what is the best way to tell a good data story that can drive business performance?

1. Ask the right questions and define the problem – First of all, you want to ask very specific questions. The more specific the question is, the more valuable (and actionable) the answers and insights will be. Instead of asking, “How can I increase revenue?”, you should ask: “What are the cross-selling opportunities we should focus more on to raise revenue while not raising?”. These key questions to ask when analyzing data can define your next strategy in developing your company.

2. Understand where information fits into the “big picture” – Big picture thinking requires letting go of established norms and conventions  (‘we’ve always done it this way’ bit) and letting the creative juices flow to explore new ideas and possibilities. Aligning the data and analytics strategy with company core objectives and goals is a prerequisite to derive meaningful insights for the business and the roadmap for improvement.

3. Break big things into smaller steps, simplify math – In situations where the target audiences find it challenging to interpret the analyses,, the onus is squarely on the data storytellers to convey the gist with lucidity, without compromising on the rigor. With adequate exposure over time, such data storytelling can enhance everyone’s ability to interpret and work with data.

4. Develop a story that will help the company articulate a better strategy Layout how the company will act on the desired data activities to achieve its goals. A good data story should be able to flag the action points for the organization to extract optimal value from its data assets leading to improved performance.

In a world that’s flooded with data, it becomes harder to use it. Building stories provides a plausible framework in which to do that. Whether you are a small business down the street or a conglomerate across the globe, the data will tell its story, and you should be able to listen and act. 

Our strategy practice helps create narrative visualization, including promising under-explored insights that have an immediate impact on bottom-line performance. Connect with us for a coffee to learn more about some breakthrough business stories.

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