Why Is Data Storytelling Not Working?

For years, many people expected data storytelling to take off in terms of who is doing it and their success rate. But the numbers and percentages remain under 50 percent, still a minority group. Why is that? Breaking down the components of data storytelling identifies its prerequisites and what elements when missing temper higher levels of data storytelling use and success.

Data storytelling is the process of building a narrative (story) based on data—and any analytics of that data—that helps influence and inform a particular audience to make a business decision. Note that it is a process, not just a result, that takes complex data and analyses and makes them easier to consume by a target audience. The result of the data storytelling should be an informed decision based on the insight gained from the process and result; that is, the story the data tells.

Data storytelling has three components: the data, the narrative, and visualizations. You start with the data, you choose how to visualize the data, and then you build the narrative or sequencing of the data and visualizations to tell your story. Each of these parts is where you can find the breakdown in why data storytelling has not been as successful as most of us have been predicting for years.

Data storytelling has not been highly successful and prevalent because its three components—the data, the narrative, and visualizations—also require higher levels of Hyper-Decisive® Maturity and competence in core areas such as data discovery, data preparation and blending, completeness and diversity of data, insight creation and execution, data trust and governance, and data literacy (with a data literacy program). By first ensuring these critical foundational elements are in place and established in their organizations, data leaders can then with confidence build and use data storytelling processes and tools that will help empower an organization to achieve higher levels of success with its business intelligence (BI) initiatives.You do not have permission to access this document. Make sure you are logged in and/or please contact Danielle with further questions.


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