Insights Blog

The dashboard dilemma: why you’re doing analytics wrong 

The dashboard dilemma

You only need to look at the news stories and topical issues dominating our lives to realize how important and all-encompassing data has become in how we deliver and consume information. From the daily graphs and updates on COVID cases, to the pre-match rundowns before all of this year’s Euro 2020 games, it’s clear that simplified, visual interpretations of facts and figures are central to how we understand and unravel stories and events.

A far cry from detailed lists or vast datasets, the huge volume of data now available to us is often best compacted into these easy to read, impactful snapshots. That is why in recent years, many organizations have turned to dashboards to present their information.

Dashing the dashboard myth

It’s undeniable that in many circumstances, dashboards do a great job. As mentioned above, many of us would have been lost over the past 18 months without the daily dahboards updating us on the latest pandemic statistics. Complex, fragmented sets of information such as the key takeaways of the government’s annual budget or the results of an election are also very well suited to the top-line, visual nature of a dashboard. Yet, when it comes to business audiences looking to data to solve a problem or uncover an opportunity, dashboards alone don’t always get the message across. 

So, why is this?

A matter of insight

The problem is that dashboards can very effectively tell you what’s happening, but not necessarily why. They don’t tell a story.

For businesses to truly gain insight – or actionable findings from the data they have collected – the information needs contextualizing. It needs stories to be built around the numbers and narratives to be created to make sense of the raw data and identify areas which can be translated into actions for the business. Without this level of context and storytelling, it’s nigh-on impossible for members of the C-suite and other business leaders to interpret the data confidently enough to make crucial, evidence-based decisions.

Our new research report, From the ‘what’ to the ‘why’: how data storytelling is key to your success” quantifies the importance of data storytelling, revealing that 93% of companies agree that the storytelling approach leads to decisions which have the potential to help increase revenue. The findings also show that while 82% of respondents say they regularly use dashboards to communicate insights across their business, 53% say these same dashboards are being disregarded because of the time and resource it takes to properly interpret them.

So, why do we have this disconnect, and what is standing in the way of businesses adopting the storytelling technique when it comes to developing truly effective insights from the data at their fingertips?

The twist in the tale

Storytelling isn’t a new concept, and our research shows that the majority of business executives recognize the potential value of using data to build effective narratives. But there are a couple of factors preventing them from realizing this potential. Read the full report to find out what they are.

Reaping the rewards of data storytelling

There are significant benefits to be gained from approaching and delivering data storytelling properly within a business. To be truly data-driven, an organization needs to embrace the concept of data storytelling and make the necessary investments to allow this to happen. Once this commitment has been made, the rewards are there for the taking, with organizations able to:

  • Communicate better: data stories will capture the attention and imagination of your C-suite, investors, customers and other stakeholders far more effectively than a simple stack of figures.
  • Make better decisions: the simpler and more contextualized the information, the easier it is for decision makers to translate the data into action.
  • Increase revenue: It stands to reason that if data stories can present business leaders with evidence-driven opportunities to make better decisions, then the performance and revenue of the business will increase.

To learn more about our research into this issue and discover the full extent of how data storytelling can help create effective, truly data-driven organizations, download our report “From the ‘what’ to the ‘why’: how data storytelling is key to your success”.