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Why Storytelling is Critical to Business Data Analysis

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Why Storytelling is Critical to Business Data Analysis

By Rapid Insight

As a business analyst, you envision a reality in which your organization’s key stakeholders share the same data sets and dashboards, aligning everyone to the tangible benefits of data-informed decision-making.

From where you stand now, though, changing your organizational culture from one of “seeing what sticks” to one that turns data-informed insights into action (with measurable impact) may seem like an insurmountable hurdle.

Gaining support for data initiatives requires the right tools and resources, but it also requires a mindset shift. You need to move from merely sharing data to telling a story with it. 

Why Is Data Storytelling Important to Business Analysis?

As an analyst, it’s your job to study data, deploy models, and generate reports. Your experience and knowledge make it easy for you to draw conclusions from data.

But the decision-makers in your organization require that your datasets and predictive models are comprehensible, relatable, and, ultimately, actionable. Consider that most others won’t have as intimate a relationship with the data as you. Nor will they have time to sift through a report for key takeaways.

That’s where data storytelling comes in.

Here are three considerations to make when planning your story:

1. Know your audience! – Determine whether stakeholders are more receptive to bite-sized takeaways, a simple one-page report, or an in-depth study that places a wide lens on industry trends. Your report may include a combination of formats, depending on the range of data appetites.

2. Think like a writer! – Reporting on analytical outcomes is an opportunity to walk your audience through the journey expressed by the data. As with any good story, establish context, state the problem, explore probabilities, and arrive at a resolution.

3. Work with a designer! – Tools like Tableau and Bridge are useful for creating data visualizations—charts and graphs that illustrate analytical outcomes—but your audience may expect it all to be packaged neatly in a PowerPoint presentation. If so, lean on a design-savvy colleague to help produce a cohesive, engaging end product.

Data Storytelling Takes the Right Tools

Good data storytelling starts with clean, organized data.

You’ll want a data tool that connects seamlessly to all of your organization’s data formats, then blends, cleanses, and aggregates your data for analysis and reporting. Modern data wrangling tools are easy-to-learn and offer drag-and-drop workflows to enable any user to build step-by-step analyses—with no coding required.

Construct Users

Once you’ve prepared your data, you’re ready for predictive modeling. Use a tool that allows you to quickly measure your data quality, identify patterns among variables, and automatically mine the data to identify variables’ predictive qualities. Keep in mind that transparency and model defendability is crucial. You’ll want a tool that allows you to tweak and revise any of the model’s ingredients, dig into why some variables were included and others weren’t, and iterate on those outcomes quickly and easily.

Now comes the most critical step: telling stakeholders the story of your organization’s data. Define your audience, plan how you’ll tell the story, and develop visuals that drive your message home. Once you’ve told your story, equip stakeholders with the ability to access custom dashboards that shape and refine the data to tell them exactly what they need, when they need to know it.

Tell Your Data’s Story

Don’t just share results after conducting an analysis. Keep stakeholders engaged and invested by making data digestible, current, and most important of all: actionable. In other words, craft a story with your data to see data-informed decision-making take root and flourish.

Preparing your organization for data-informed decision-making doesn’t need to be costly (in time or money). We’re here to help. Learn more about our data analytics solution’s intuitive interface, powerful capability, and expert support.

 

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