The importance of data storytelling in presenting information

Data storytelling is what bridges the gap between data and human communication, with data storytelling all we would have is data with no real purpose.

We frequently talk about the benefits of data analytics and one of its key benefits: insights. However, we have neglected to mention one crucial factor needed for data insights, which is data storytelling. Storytelling in data is a fascinating concept and important for companies. Without it, it is impossible for companies to make sense of the volume of data they process daily. Hence, I will explain what we mean by data storytelling, why it is valuable and the importance of a finetuned data analytics environment.

What is data storytelling?

Data storytelling attempts to bridge the gap between data and human communication. Having the tools to process and analyse big data is great, but it is impossible for the human mind to process large numbers and understand the meaning behind them. Put simply, if an executive asks, “What do all these numbers mean?”, storytelling attempts to answer the question.

It is important to note that data storytelling is not the same as data visualisation. The visualisation of data means presenting the findings in a diagram. You can have a PowerPoint presentation with data visualisation (Interestingly enough, Amazon CEO, Jeff Bozos, banned presentations). By contrast, data storytelling attempts to build on the advantages of data visualisation to increase our understanding of data.

Data storytelling is incredibly versatile because there are several ways to tell a story. Data insights can be presented in different ways like motion graphics, presentations, videos, interactive infographics, micro-content and case studies. Making it impossible to present the same findings in varied, engaging ways. To pull this off, a properly fine-tuned analytics or SAS environment is necessary, so that data analysts have an easier time analysing data.

Is data storytelling valuable?

Data storytelling is a challenging art to master but it is a valuable asset for any company.

Easier to convey your message: As data scientists, we find numbers fascinating, but not everyone shares that love, including our bosses and clients. If we present these numbers in such a fashion, then key people will not be impressed. But with data storytelling, the impact is instant. Our bosses or client will instantly understand the value of their findings because it is applied to a real-life situation. Your message sticks out it in the mind’s of people, making it more poignant down the road.

Original contributions to the digital clutter: There is so much content online, but with data storytelling, you have the chance to stand out from the clutter. If you publish your own stories based on your own original findings, then you will stand out from the clutter of online content. It is a great PR/marketing angle because publications love stats, and they love stats that are tied to a relevant and poignant story.

Data is more meaningful and valuable: Numbers are great, numbers don’t lie, but we don’t know what the numbers are telling us until it is applied to a case. Data storytelling is about applying data findings to a specific case. By telling a story, data analysts can convey unique insights by telling compelling stories, which makes the data more valuable and meaningful.

Data storytelling is the best choice to present your findings because it is the best way to get your message across and generate valuable data. Data visualisation can explain what is happening but they cannot explain why it is happening.

Sadly, most companies do not take full advantage of the potential for storytelling. In my experience, data scientists and analysts have great technical minds but lack the imagination to tell these stories in a creative and engaging way. Meanwhile, PR and marketing departments have the finesse to present data in interesting ways, but they have a hard time understanding the data they are given. The ideal solution is to breakdown the barriers between PR and data research teams so they work together to find the best possible solution.

The best way to present data

Data storytelling is the best way to present information. The true value of data analytics lies in its ability to generate insights and the best way to present insightful trends is by telling a story with data. Humans respond well to stories – it has been that way since the dawn of our civilisation. So, it makes sense to represent our data into a format that involves stories.

Of course, a sophisticated method of data presentation requires a stable analytics environment from which to glean data for storytelling. Selerity provides administration, installation and hosting services to provide the perfectly fine-tuned SAS environment you need, so your team of data analysts can engage in truly effective data storytelling.

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