Data Management // Big Data Analytics
11:16 AM
Cindi Howson
Cindi Howson
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Visual Data Discovery: 4 Storytelling Approaches Compared

Qlik, SAP, SAS, and Tableau Software deliver the latest table stakes in visual discovery: storyboard capabilities. Here's how they stack up.
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User Rank: Apprentice
9/10/2014 | 6:29:49 PM
Storytelling for Discovery vs. Storytelling for Delivery

Dear Cindi,

Many thanks for a great post. I am left wondering whether these features will really take off in real business scenarios.

I have long agreed that storytelling, being as it is highly dependent on the current "shape" of the data, was better placed at Discovery level, as an analyst tool that will help them to better present their latest insights. 

After working with multiple Fortune 1000 companies at Data Delivery level I now think otherwise. I am pretty certain (and have placed my bets on it) that performance-driven, executive dashboards/scorecards are the best starting point for management to take action on insights. As a result, these Delivery tools are increasingly becoming workflow-powered performance management solutions. Storytelling becomes essential at the early stages of the optimization workflow, but Visual Discovery precedes the entire communication process. If this makes any sense :)

In full disclosure, I run Sweetspot Intelligence - 100% focused on Information Delivery and Insight Management. 

Thanks, again. 

User Rank: Apprentice
9/8/2014 | 5:01:58 PM
Back to the Future
I love it when an old idea comes around again, sometimes wearing a new name.

For those of us old enough to remember, the BI concept of a story board has been around since at least 2000. Using Cognos Portfolio, back in the day, you could build a portfolio, or briefing book, of OLE objects, inluding Cognos PowerPlay (and Impromptu reports), that were live explorable "data discovery" objects, as well as other objects like slides. As I remember you could annotate each page of the portfolio briefing book with the salient facts about the default data being shown in the initial view of the object.

It was the de facto way for telling data driven stories during management presentatations.

Glad to see it's been reborn.
User Rank: Apprentice
9/8/2014 | 9:03:26 AM
Why not use language to get those reports with Natural Language Generation?
I see that this article is showing how to extend the capability of already existing visualisation tools into telling stories from the data directly with presentations and other charts i presume?  Or maybe some canned text to go with the pictures?

How about just using the technology and the tools designed to tell stories from the data?  Natural Language Generation cand do this directly from the data AND can be used to annotate interesting features in the visualised images.  You can have the best of both worlds - visuals and narrative - all automatically and dynamically as if the expert viewed the data.


BY the way, NLG is not to displace the analyst, but to empower them and other audiences who want to know the context of whats happening in the data, with situational background, historical context and recommendations etc.


I think if you want to tell data stories, you should look at what this technology can do IN COMBINATION with the pictures...


D. Henschen
D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
9/4/2014 | 11:26:16 AM
Workday is the latest example
I guess we didn't have to wait long for the "next story to come" that Cindi hints at in her story. Check out "Workday Steps Up To Real-Time Reporting" and you'll see this cloud-based HCM and financial management vendor has added a Composite Reporting tool with a "notebook" feature aimed as delivering board-room-ready financial reports on tablets such as the iPad. In this case you don't need a separate BI tool; it's part of the cloud apps platform.
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