Type Writter

41688668_MFor many of us, a news article feels like it carries more clout when it includes good data to back up the information. We respond to a carefully researched article differently than to an emotional opinion piece. Carefully researched and explained data makes all the difference.

The same is true for business. Business decisions need data.

What story is your data telling? How can you be a data storyteller?

A recent Forbes article made the case for an increasing demand for data storytellers. How can you become a data storyteller? Why would you need one for your business?

Let’s start with this question: How does data storytelling happen?

It begins with data. First, you need to be collecting data in an organized fashion that makes it retrievable. Do you know how many customers visited your site in the last month? Where were they from? What products did they purchase? What products were purchased together? How many visitors abandoned shopping carts? What types of searches did they conduct? What pages brought them to your site? How long did they stay? This data is simply the collection of information you might compile about your ecommerce site. What other wealth of data do you have from sources such as your CRM?

Next, you hunt for insights. As businesses accumulate a wealth of data, the hardest part may be finding the biggest value in it. Look for clues: what patterns can you find; have you noticed trends; are there bits and pieces in your data that seem like outliers? Act like a scientist in this phase by creating a hypothesis and searching to prove it true or false through your data. Sometimes it gets exciting when you find the data pulling you in a totally unexpected direction.

Share the excitement of your insights. Gather interested parties to share and show them what you’re finding. When you teach another, you learn in a new way. It forces you to break it down and explain the nuts and bolts. Can you share the information with simplicity and conciseness? Do you have a way to really present it with a big wow by using images and something visual? A great example of the power of a picture comes from NASA’s Challenger disaster. It was caused by an O-ring that failed because of the cold temperatures the day the space shuttle was launched. Engineers had reported that this would happen, but their reports didn’t stand out as they were communicated in convoluted, lengthy documents. If a simple graph, showing points of failure as they related to air temperature, had been used instead, perhaps it would have made it easier to postpone and wait for a warmer day. The temperature on the day of the launch was -0.5 degrees Celsius. The coldest temperatures tested for the O-rings were 51 degrees Celsius (the coldest tested temperature and the temp that recorded the most failures!).

Craft your story. Now that you’ve shared insights with others, it should help you refine your message to one that’s concise, clear and impactful. It’s more than statistics. Those are only numbers. People don’t connect to numbers. We connect to stories. Put together a narrative just like a children’s book, with strong visuals and a story that teaches. If you can successfully combine your data with dynamic visuals and a strong narrative, then, BAM! – you are a data storyteller.

Need a hand with getting started? We have some awesome knowledge in all the areas of big data, from service management to vendor relationships, network assessment and data analysis. Give us a call for a free assessment today!