Data Storytelling is not just about analytics. But if you look at the content published about data storytelling, it is devoted to tips on visualization, dashboards, charts, graphs, and other ways to explain analytics. Analytics can bring all sorts of value to an enterprise as long as the data is trustworthy. Devoid of data management, however, analytics data storytellers have no story to tell.
Every enterprise has a data management story
They must tell it for two particular reasons: first, investment in data management is a crucial component for the success of the business. This investment should be an on-going, strategic initiative, not a one-time ad-hoc project. Most C-Level business executives, company boards, and business stakeholders don’t understand that. It is not because they aren’t smart or aware—they simply haven’t been exposed to the need for data management in a business-accessible way with a strategic perspective. To get their attention, they need to hear a narrative that captures their hearts and minds and convinces them that data management is not an option.
Secondly, the louder, cooler, and in many cases, “sexier” trends fail without proper data management. Many massive investments are woefully underperforming. The value of every digitally transformative customer-facing initiative, every data science and analytics-based project, every as-a-service offering, every foray into eCommerce, and every enterprise software implementation is inextricably linked to the successful output of data management efforts. Although it is a simple function of garbage in garbage out, that slogan rarely serves to drive any sustainable executive action.
We need to speak up.
How many of you sit silently when a BI thought-leader boasts, “without analytics, data is just a cost center” or “data has no value unless it is made into analysis.” That is your work! A baker would never say, “flour is worthless unless I make it into bread,” because they have respect for the ingredients. There is no doubt that business intelligence provides incredible capabilities, but without proper data management, those efforts are futile. Challenge the analytics community to end this type of zero-sum portrayal of data vs. analytics value. It doesn’t help either group gain executive support.
There are two types of Data Storytelling.
One WITH data and one ABOUT data.
Both are important.
They are connected.
Every organization needs to do both.
Excerpted with permission from Technics Publications from TELLING YOUR DATA STORY – Data Storytelling for Data Management by Scott Taylor, The Data Whisperer, of MetaMeta Consulting. The entire book is available at the links below.