Synthesizing data sets and turning them into clear and concise arguments can often be extremely challenging. Even if you’re familiar with the data and have an in-depth understanding of the topics involved, turning the numbers into a clear narrative can often prove to be difficult.
This becomes more of a problem when that information will play a role in a decision-making progress, but fortunately there is an approach that will turn your data analytics into data narratives.
Data storytelling allows you to clearly communicate key information from your data through narratives and visual representation. Think of it as the connector that merges much sought-after hard skills with the soft skills that encourage collaboration, knowledge sharing, and effective communication.According to research by Deloitte, organizations that use data throughout their decision-making processes are twice as likely to exceed their business goals. So the question isn’t should you be using your data, but rather how can you make the best use of your data and optimize your decision-making process. Data storytelling helps every stakeholder to identify key business insights as easily as possible.
What is data storytelling?
Data storytelling is the process through which data analytics are turned into a narrative - either written or visual - that allows the insight to be more easily understood by the intended audience. This approach can prove to be extremely valuable in any situation where groups or teams taking business decisions are using data analytics as part of the decision-making process.
Turning data analytics into stories that everyone within an audience can understand helps to make the insights more accessible and actionable, and prevents key information from being overlooked or misunderstood.
In fact, without good business storytelling, organizations run the risk that the time and resources being invested into data analytics will be wasted simply because they cannot be understood by every stakeholder or decision maker.
More data, more problems? Not so fast
According to the International Data Group, unstructured data is growing at a rate of 62 percent per year. This growth is leading many to focus heavily on data management, storage, and data analytics, but it is equally important that they invest in how that data can be shared through their organization.
Every team or department within your organization will have access to more data than ever before. Whilst this might be enough for certain experts or data scientists focusing on those areas, there is a strong likelihood that many stakeholders simply won’t have the skills or time that would be required to identify key insights and make good business decisions based on those data sets.
Good data storytelling is more than just repurposing your data analytics and turning them into infographics and anecdotes. Effective business storytelling will help you improve your decision-making process and make smarter business decisions.
How to get the right insights from your data
One of the big advantages of a good data storytelling approach is that it not only benefits the audience that will eventually receive the information, but also the presenter(s) shaping the narrative.
With the right tools and processes, good data storytelling will help presenters to identify the most meaningful and impactful data and ensure that they include that in their arguments. It’s not unusual to see experts overlook some of the most meaningful available data. The right data storytelling tools highlight the most relevant data and information to include.
For example, Toucan’s customizable dashboards help users to synthesize large data sets and turn them into powerful narratives. Highlighting the right data based on profile and needs helps the teams working on a project to be more efficient in their day-to-day tasks. It also makes it easier for them to select the right information to present to a larger audience.
Toucan refers to this process as guided analytics, and it’s the easiest way to turn every business user into a data expert, regardless of how complex the data analytics might be.
Improve your decision-making processes
The value of data storytelling can really be seen when it comes to how you can use the approach to become a data-driven organization.
Good data storytelling will allow you to present data analytics and key insights in an easily understandable and more convincing argument. Data storytelling will ensure that your argument not only contains all the data necessary to support your conclusions, but that this data will also be understood by all of your audience - including those without expert knowledge of the topic.
This can be particularly important when presenting arguments to decision makers who want to take data-based action, but who aren’t intimately familiar with every aspect of a project or field.
That’s not to say that good data storytelling is only worthwhile when presenting to an audience that may not have the right expertise. Data storytelling also helps you to frame your arguments and make them more memorable. Research by cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner has found that we are 22 times more likely to remember a fact when it has been wrapped in a story.
Good data storytelling will help a presenter to select the right data to include and help the audience to understand it. Perhaps most importantly, it also ensures that the key insights are highlighted and that all stakeholders remember these business insights throughout any decision-making process – even if this is long after the data was originally presented.
Data storytelling is effectively a win for all the stakeholders involved and allows an organization to optimize their decision-making process. Experts are armed with the ability to present complex data to the audience that they need to convince. Decision makers are provided with that data in a format that they can understand.
Adopt a data storytelling approach
Convinced that you need to start using a data storytelling approach to shape your arguments and optimize your decision-making process?
As with any project, the first step is to find the right tools and resources. Toucan Guided Analytics will help you to create great data narratives and good business storytelling.
You can connect to your data sources, build customized dashboards, and create your own app today! Allow all of your teams to get access to the most valuable data analytics.
Schedule a demo so that you can find out more about Toucan and how guided analytics could help you to optimize your decision-making process.