The rise of data science in business has forced C-level executives to become well-versed in big data analytics, including how it impacts the business. In turn, today’s data analytics leaders, including chief data officers (CDOs), are required to succinctly state the business benefits of new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and digital platforms—in terms that all employees can understand. In fact, we’ve shared advice on the new skill sets needed by today’s business leaders before on the APEX of Innovation, including how to mind the soft skills gap and the new requirements of today’s CDO.
Today, telling a good data story is moving beyond the role of the CDO and data analytics professionals. Increasingly, everyone from the C-suite to departments like Marketing and Human Resources is using data analytics in their jobs. As a result, more than ever they too are required to communicate the value of data to the business.
A recent Forbes article was even more explicit on the critical role of communication in data analytics initiatives, making the case that “storytellers” will define the next decade of data. According to the article, while technology is a critical enabler, humans are the ones that will unleash data’s true potential, not the technology itself. As a result, they are the ones that need to communicate the benefits. To do this, companies are leveraging tools, such as dashboards and alerts, that can deliver “relevant, role-specific insights” to employees, who can then use the data in their work. According to the article, “When these individuals are empowered to act on these insights, companies will see a beneficial wave of incremental improvements.”
As more employees uncover incremental improvements in their day-to-day jobs, the probability that they discover larger insights that can have a bigger impact on the business grows—requiring a need to communicate a story in a way that “inspires action” from other parts of the company. “To form these data narratives, data storytellers will lean on their human creativity, empathy, and contextual understanding in ways that can’t be easily replicated by technology,” according to the article.
Finally, the article stresses the point that the need for strong data storytelling will only increase as big data analytics continues to become a greater part of people’s jobs. Steps that business leaders can take to help employees along this journey include programs aimed at increasing their data literacy and establishing a “vibrant community” of data storytellers across the departments at your company to lead the charge.
If you’re interested in learning more, you can read the complete Forbes article here.