Why data storytelling in business matters more than ever

1 year ago 157

Trying to explicate the concern benefits of exertion has been an ongoing IT challenge, and it inactive is contiguous for analytics. CIOs should marque storytelling a apical priority.


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The MIT Sloan School of Management described data storytelling arsenic "the quality to convey information not conscionable successful numbers oregon charts but arsenic a communicative that humans tin comprehend." Sloan besides said, "As with immoderate bully story, a information communicative needs a beginning, a middle, an extremity and immoderate actionable insights. Data scientists aren't ever up to the job"

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IT that delivers affirmative concern interaction and that concern leaders recognize is an age-old IT challenge. As a wide arts postgraduate student, I began my ain IT vocation erstwhile Hughes Aircraft Company began hiring wide arts grads alternatively of IT professionals to beryllium its strategy analysts. Why did Hughes bash this? Because it had hired a radical of UCLA doctrine post-grads the twelvemonth earlier it hired me, and the institution recovered that these radical were capable to span the communications spread betwixt users and much technically oriented IT professionals. The experimentation worked due to the fact that these wide arts grads were capable to archer a convincing concern communicative astir however exertion could payment the business.

Today we telephone this quality to pass the concern worth of exertion "data storytelling."

How bash you archer an effectual communicative that tin physique enactment for a information analytics project, and who is successful the champion presumption to bash the telling?

First, determination are tools that assistance IT archer the story. These tools autumn into 2 camps: 

  • Data visualization tools that amusement what analytics tin supply to the concern by illustrating analytics connected a graph, chart, map oregon immoderate different visualization instrumentality that gives absorption an ocular representation of results
  • Actual information storytelling tools that make human connection explanations of what analytics reveal, without users having to work done the analytics results themselves 

These tools are adjuvant immunodeficiency to storytelling, but they can't bash the full information storytelling occupation by themselves.

SEE: Why plot-driven information storytelling is important and however to make it (TechRepublic) 

For this task, organizations request talented individuals who are beardown communicators and who person some concern acumen and IT savvy. In an IT department, you are astir apt to find these individuals successful the positions of concern analysts, and galore of them (as successful the past) volition beryllium susceptible communicators who hail from wide arts backgrounds.

In the Sloan paper, Miro Kazakoff, an MIT Sloan lecturer who teaches communications and information storytelling arsenic portion of the school's Masters of Business Analytics curriculum, explained: "Would-be information storytellers are coached to expect an audience's apt effect to analysis," Kazakoff said. "Students larn to operation their readying and presumption to code the needs of a circumstantial audience—whether it's a colleague, a lawsuit oregon a boss—so they're capable to instrumentality distant the close insights and initiate due action.

That's not ever imaginable with communal analytics dashboards that simply alert concern users to a circumstantial change—say, a dip successful income oregon a spike successful lawsuit enactment calls—without providing penetration into the full story.

SEE: Snowflake information warehouse platform: A cheat expanse (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

"If you privation radical to marque the close decisions with data, you person to get successful their caput successful a mode they understand. Throughout quality history, the mode to bash that has been with stories," Kazakoff said successful the Sloan paper. 

With probe firms similar Gartner predicting that lone 20% of analytics projects volition present concern outcomes, it's imperative that IT leaders find and make concern analysts who grasp the salient points of some IT and the concern and who tin chopped to the pursuit of what truly matters for institution revenue, outgo savings, lawsuit satisfaction, marque gathering and different strategical concerns. These radical tin beryllium culled from interior idiosyncratic and IT ranks oregon brought successful from the outside—and processing them should beryllium a apical CIO precedence for the foreseeable future. 

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