Rudyard Kipling once wrote, “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” The term ‘storytelling’ is used to refer to techniques used in order to unfold or disclose the narrative of a story. Throughout time, storytelling has proven to be a powerful delivery mechanism for sharing insights and ideas in a way that is memorable, persuasive, and engaging. This mechanism of conveying a message in a memorable way can also be applied to data.
During a 2009 interview, Google’s Chief Economist Dr. Hal R.Varian stated, “The ability to take data—to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it—that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades”. One of the most important functions of business analytics software is to find things a human would not be able to see in data. Gartner Research VP Neil Chandler calls these “hidden truths,” but says those truths are only useful if they can be properly conveyed to people in decision-making positions.
Data will not be remembered unless it is presented in a memorable way and the traditional approach of using a PowerPoint slide or a spreadsheet is not memorable; a story is. Data can be utilised to tell a meaningful story that resonates both intellectually and emotionally with an audience. Presenting data creatively can make numbers seem more human and turn statistics into stories. Data visualization expert Stephen Few said, “Numbers have an important story to tell. They rely on you to give them a clear and convincing voice.”
The types of stories that can be told depend on the type of analytics being used. ‘Descriptive’ ones use historical data to paint a picture of the past, whilst ‘diagnostic’ ones are more narrative, exploratory stories, Chandler says. Meanwhile, ‘predictive’ stories look to the future and identify possible courses of action. Finally, ‘prescriptive’ stories explain the actions that should be taken.
Too often data storytelling is interpreted as just visualizing data effectively, however, it is much more than just creating visually-appealing data charts. Data storytelling is a structured approach for communicating data insights and unlocking value in data which involves a combination of three key elements: data, visuals, and narrative.
How we can Help you with Data Storytelling
Who Are We? WARDY IT Solutions:
- Is a premier Australian provider of Microsoft SQL Server trainers and consultants as well as Business Intelligence specialists.
- Is one of the country’s leading Microsoft Power BI Partners.
- Have a rich an understanding of utilising the Microsoft platform for Data Storytelling.
What Do We Do? WARDY IT Solutions uses a diverse range of expertise to:
- Assist clients in unlocking the value of Big Data
- Develop a data driven culture to tell meaningful stories.
Contact WARDY IT Solutions to find out how SQL Server, Azure and Business Intelligence can work together to optimise your business and tell meaningful data stories.