How Data Storytelling Is Shaping Our Approach To Data

September 8th, 2022

Storytelling is an integral part of our humanity. If you cast your mind back to a memory from your adolescence, what it is that takes you back there? Do you recall senses, smells, sounds and voices?

It’s this context that helps us build memories which remain in our minds long after the moment has passed.

In the data world, data insights alone are not necessarily enough to provoke action. They lack the context needed to be memorable, persuasive, and engaging – and this is where data storytelling comes in.

Data storytelling is a structured approach to communicating data insights. It combines the power of narrative with data and user experience design to:

  • Give context, meaning and reason for why particular insights are important
  • Highlight patterns and outliers that would otherwise be hidden in a solution built with a traditional approach
  • Engage a user’s attention and emotion and build trust

People read data insights but they experience stories, and it is through data storytelling that we can develop these narratives to deliver valuable information in better ways.

Data Storytelling Is A Unique Skillset

Many solutions we build now prioritise self service capabilities in analytics and business intelligence and have a wide user base. The end users who are generating and extracting insights are not just analysts or data scientists – they are non-technical people at all levels of the business.

With this increasing democratisation of data, we see the need to approach our data projects as data storytellers and use strong visual communicators in data. This has a direct and tangible impact on how insights are interpreted and understood, and helps to nurture behavioural change.

Customers generally approach us with vast quantities of data from different internal reporting systems, and it’s our job to present a data story that makes it easy for the business to convert insights into actions.

This goes well beyond the typical skillset of a data business analyst and requires:

  • Communication – asking the right questions during discovery and business requirements workshops
  • Empathy – understanding the overall business goals and pain points within the greater context of the business strategy
  • Business insight – depth and breadth of experience across other data projects to enable robust business insights
  • User experience design skills – effective UX design methodologies that allow for the extraction of business requirements and the development of solutions that are fit for purpose, make sense within the business context, and are easy to interpret and gain insight from

Partnering With Data Experts That Understand Storytelling

Data storytelling is a niche but vital skill, and an emerging methodology that is increasingly important in today’s data-driven landscape.

At Antares, we know our data experts need to be great at wrangling raw data…but they must also be able to convert the potential value of data into actual value through storytelling.

Our extensive experience delivering data projects within education, commerce and banking, legal, and not-for-profits enable us to ask the right questions and to coach our customers through the discovery process so we can build out a practical and meaningful data capability.

We also recognise the importance of UX design skills to develop dashboards that capture and keep a user’s attention, and provide an intuitive user experience.

Ultimately, harnessing the power of data storytelling empowers you to build trust in and engagement with data across your organisation from the frontline to the C-Suite. It ensures everyone understands how their role contributes to the bigger picture, and how the decisions they make can serve to benefit the business as a whole.  

To learn more about data storytelling and how Antares can help to build out your data capability, please contact us.