Using stories to drive decision making, growth, and impact from data
"Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form." -Jean Luc Godard
The same is true of data; the complexity of data demands interpretation in an anecdotal form in order for the insights to hold meaning.
According to Gartner, the objective of data storytelling is to encourage and revitalize critical thinking capabilities when analyzing data insights for business decisions.
As data insights are passed between departments and decision makers, it's necessary to deliver those insights in customized and unique ways. By using storytelling in combination with business intelligence and visualizations as an aid to deliver data driven insights, information can be more easily absorbed and understood by everyone.
Ryan Fuller, general manager at Microsoft, states that data storytelling conveys "credibility in the analytical approach, confidence in the results, and a compelling set of insights that is actionable to the audience."
More and more companies are taking advantage of Big Data through software outsourcing. With so much data, businesses have to find new ways to tell the story and help both clients and employees connect with the data in such a way that it prompts them to use it.
Using data stories effectively: Challenges and solutions
Businesses are becoming proficient in deriving intelligent insights from data, and applying those insights across their business by using storytelling. To remain competitive, you have to be able to derive insights as well as your competitors can or lose customers to your competition.
In 2017, data and analytics professionals revealed that fewer decisions were being based on data than in 2016, 45% compared to 49%, respectively. This is due in part to deficiencies in data and analytics departments, such as not having access to or utilizing the appropriate tools, technologies, resources, and capabilities effectively. Furthermore, they aren't proficient storytellers, so they're unable to communicate the data insights in a way that people understand. This in turn is preventing the data from being used to make decisions.
- Finding the right information and the right way to tell it. How do you need to convey your information and to whom?
- Identifying your audience. Is it a CIO, a CEO, a shareholder, or a specific department?
- Having insufficient data and analytics capabilities at your disposal, and the proper skilled personnel to interpret data.
How to do it:
- Utilize the full spectrum of data and analytics tools available, which often means relying on the expertise of skilled professionals with advanced, intelligent digital capabilities, such as third-party SaaS providers.
- Use the right data to maximize content credibility.
- Adapt data into a suitable story for your audience, which according to Harvard Business Review, are divided into five categories depending on how much information they have about the subject: Novice, Generalist, Managerial, Expert, and Executive.
- Choose the correct data visualization to enhance the story.
To illustrate a successful example, the Tour de France uses real-time data to create shareable content by creating stories revolving around the event, which is used to attract audiences and drive conversations. Real-time data is used here to create a deeper sense of brand loyalty, drawing fans into the excitement of the moment and allowing them to feel like they're right there in the midst of the action. This results in viral content that's widely shared and discussed, and delivered as the action is happening.
Weaving an Effective Data Story with Software Outsourcing
With the aid of storytelling, in combination with traditional analytics and visualizations, getting your data-driven message across effectively can be accomplished successfully.
About PSL: Leading global software outsourcing provider PSL offers versatile IT services, DevOps deployments, software team enrichment, software engineering, and software development and maintenance. PSL's agile nearshore solutions and quality services have enhanced data and analytics capabilities across industries and disciplines for over 30 years, enabling businesses to use their data to its fullest potential.