MAY 20, 2014 5:00am ET

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Cue the Data Storytellers: The Data Industry’s Next Big Stars


Data storytelling has kicked around for years at the edges of the business intelligence industry. But now that a handful of vendors seem poised to shove it under the spotlight, its big break may come. Data storytelling could be the data industry’s next big star.

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Comments (2)
Data needs narrative. Decisions need to be socialised. Sadly, too few Information Management practitioners are able to go beyond the technical "what?" and "how?" questions to explore the "why?" at a business and social level, let alone having the ability to construct a compelling story that brings people along.

Certainly, practitioners need to get away from simply telling the end-user what it is they do at a task level - they end user doesn't care! (e.g. as I noted in my post "Data Quality is boring!" )

Posted by Alan D | Sunday, May 25 2014 at 12:40AM ET
Alan makes some excellent points.

Numbers always need an accompanying narrative...and the opportunity for the community of users to add specific related knowledge, and to share insight and ideas can make the numbers stand out in a new light.

The problem with traditional business intelligence tools is that they report operational numbers without context. The numbers can tell you "what" happened, but on their own they are unlikely to tell you "why" it happened. Without a tested narrative users are left to infer reasons. They look for patterns in the numbers, usually following a path that supports a preconception, and often mistaking correlations for causations. Mistaken causations can become part of an organizations conventional wisdom, resulting squandered resources and missed opportunities.

There seems to be a growing recognition of the need to bind together the numbers with the narrative (i.e. the documented information, and undocumented employee knowledge). As such, operational reporting/analytics software is starting to evolve into more comprehensive information software.

If you are interested you can find a further discussion of these types of ideas at

Posted by D B | Tuesday, June 17 2014 at 2:32PM ET
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