Thoughts on BI and Analytics as Storytelling
Generally people are not that good at remembering or retaining an unending list of facts, especially with no context of why they are important. However, they can remember facts that are narrated as a story.

In your organization, you should strive for an overall BI or analytics “story.”

Like any story, your story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning of the story should tell what you want to convey and why the story matters. The middle should convey the how of the story. And, the end should convey a data narrative.

Data Storytelling = Visualization + Context + Narrative

Data storytelling is not data visualization. Every person has a different perspective and may visualize data differently. For effective storytelling, visualization should be just one component of your storytelling. You also need a textual narrative, such as what the visualization is trying to convey. Ask yourself, “what story are you trying to tell about your organization?” Another important component of storytelling is context, why it’s important or meaningful, what themes do you want to uncover. Without context, both the visual and narrative would not convey the full picture. Further, there isn’t a single correct answer for all storytelling. Based on the narrative your story could be represented as a: an annotated dashboard, a flowchart, a slide show, an infographic, a storyboard.

Also note that all stories are not “happily ever after.” Your story should convey the results as they are, and let your users actively explore and question based on their experience and needs. Then will the data help in proper decision-making.

 

 

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