The organisational importance of effective data analysis, visualisation and the resultant storytelling steadily built momentum in 2019 – and are now at the precipices of impressive expected growth. In fact, data visualisation is set to become a focal area for many companies in the new decade and is estimated to grow at compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9% through to 2024.
This anticipated growth in and uptake of data visualisation is not surprising. While analytics deal with data at a much deeper level, at its core, visualisation enables a business to extract data from their data sources, make sense of the data and present a graphical or pictorial representation of the data that is both useful and meaningful to better decision making. A strong business visualisation tool will enable the company to have access to accurate and timeously information about the business and its operations and processes, to ensure that the business can make more informed strategic decisions.
By tracking the connections between operations and overall business performance, companies can better understand the correlations that tie processes and systems together. Moreover, they can also be more pro-active in problem management, detecting issues before they become too significant to address easily.
Contrary to popular belief, making sense of data visualisation tools is a user-friendly process. Even non-visualisation experts can pick up on the solutions and integrate those into their reporting and presentations. The past few months, people have found more effective ways of bringing these [data-driven] narratives into their daily work.
By transforming complex datasets into clear and concise [visual] information blocks, visualisation highlights the patterns, trends, and outliers that would ordinarily have been missed. Some might argue that their business is too small or in an industry where visualisation does not make sense. The reality is that no company or industry sector can afford not to embrace visualisation in some form in 2020.
A story to tell
Visualisation is only part of the data story. It stands to reason that to make sense of data, organisations must share business information and drive outcomes in the most effective ways possible. To this end, data storytelling significantly informs this environment.
Storytelling is about taking the insights gained through visualisation and using it in meaningful ways. Dashboards and spreadsheets might tell you what is happening, but they do not show why. It is in the ‘why’ where competitive advantage is to be found. Without this understanding, a company cannot fully transform itself into a digital entity and benefit from its data.
Companies must think of data storytelling as the essential data science skill needed for the foreseeable future. The previous few years laid the groundwork for this connected environment. Data is valued as a business asset and getting value from it as quickly and effectively as possible is critical for success. With visualisation and storytelling gaining momentum, the coming years will be exciting ones indeed.
By Duncan McKay, business development manager at PBT Group
Edited by Jenna Delport
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