We often hear how a new movie, based on the writings of a successful book, didn’t do the book “justice.” Let’s take for example, the recently released “Jurassic World”. Many have made the claim that the book was more enjoyable, but on the flip side how do you not showcase prehistoric creatures stomping in front of you in high-end broadcast technology?
Often, to the recipient, a clear picture of images and graphics conveys much more information than a thousand words ever could. And generally, movies reach more people than most books ever do.
So what about business intelligence? When do we want to use visuals and when do we want to provide words? What if clear messaging and wide reach are simply not good enough?
Reading a book undeniably allows for a more profound experience. You may spend two hours at the movies, but you tend spend a lot more time in a book. Due to the non-visual nature of writing, we are invited by the author to create a world in our head, merely guided by the text in front of us.
The visuals get substance in our minds (back to visuals again to interpret). And even with a book, how much time do people spend looking at the cover? Glazing over the photos included in the book? The fact is, consumers of information tend to like images.
This is why data visualization seems to be paramount in business intelligence - certainly when speed and audience reach are key. With all that in play, for strategic topics, where audience engagement is required, we may need to consider a more enduring interaction format.
Visualizations are all around us, and overwhelmingly so; in the media, on social media and across the Internet – at home, at work, and while mobile. Amidst this visualization overload, it is not easy to make a lasting impression with a clever business intelligence visual.
When a topic is strategic to us, how can we engage our audience? How can we encourage dialogue and discussion? How can we allow opinions to develop?
A picture may be able to convey a thousand words, but in the pursuit of business truth, opinions need to form in our business minds and get expressed and shared. Strategic thoughts need to be spoken and written down - so they can be argued and discussed.
If your management team needs to be able to create versions of truth, based on business intelligence facts, which are up for debate, then two-way communication may be required. This would be the time for strategic conversation, not the time for picture synthesis.
Given this scenario, the art of writing may be your best option.
About the author: Heine Krog Iversen is the CEO of TimeXtender, a leading provider of data warehouse automation software for the Microsoft SQL Server. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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