The tactics undertaken on a daily basis, both in a personal and professional capacity, are no doubt impacted by stories. Whether it is the story plot of the latest series on TV that has everyone talking, or the story a business’s data is presenting to help top line management reach an all-important decision – stories are key to keeping us informed and engaged.
Stories have been around for years and are entrenched in the very core of humanity. But often the difference between a good or successful story and a limiting or poor one, comes down to what data the story is based on, along with how well the story is visually presented.
The storytelling trend
The idea of storytelling through visualisation in the broader Business Intelligence (BI) field exploded onto the market only a few years back, and certainly created some ripples, and some confusion at first. While visualisation was never intended to be a new form of BI, it certainly offered the ability for data analysts to present BI findings in a way that was more relatable to the business decision makers. However, effective storytelling through visualisation – the ability to truly reap benefit from the story ‘hidden’ in the data – lies in the quality of the data the story is based on.
It always comes back to data quality
Data has a knock-on effect here. Analysing the data produces the results that can tell the story, where visualisation is then used to bring the story to life – making the data more applicable, practical and use friendly. Within this cycle, if the data being used is of poor quality, it is only natural that so too will the end result.
There is no denying the fact that it has taken some time for the industry and businesses to realise that not all data is good data, or data ‘worth its salt’. In the past, this often lead to storying telling based on data of poorer quality, where the results may have presented some gaps and the final story told, an emphasised version, to plug these.
Visualisation based on poor stories from bad quality data simply should have no place in the business world, especially as businesses continue to rely heavily on their data, as it is an asset, and considering the tools available to get this process of visualisation right.
Advancements can lead to success
Unlocking the story in the data through visualisation takes very careful consideration, planning and design, to ensure that the most appropriate visualisation mechanism is used that will best tell the story to the audience. The good news is that storytelling and visualisation tools have advanced massively over the years, which supports the process of getting the data right, to produce accurate stories that add real value to a business’s bottom line.
Utilising these advanced visualisation tools can in fact empower business decisions makers across departments to make better decisions and achieve improved results. Well-crafted visualisation views that tell the story succinctly and in a way that is relatable provides bigger picture thinking – allowing the business to be more comfortable with their data and therefore more agile and flexible to market change, as required.