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Building a better foundation for business intelligence | Mastering your data storytelling

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Building a better foundation for business intelligence | Mastering your data storytelling

For most businesses staying profitable means reacting faster than ever to trends, economic fluctuation, online competitors, and changing consumer lifestyles. Business intelligence (BI) is a must for uncovering valuable insights and staying ahead of the competition. We have previously discussed how manufacturers are bombarded with endless streams of data and how business intelligence tools can transform raw data from a variety of sources into reports, dashboards, scorecards, key performance indicators (KPIs) and other metrics. Across industries, organisations recognise the power and opportunity that comes with a fast and effective analytics and data visualisation tool. To be successful, companies need a modern, easy-to-use BI platform that stands up as an industry leader and a vision that meets the needs of tomorrow. This blog focuses on several steps which significantly speed-up the process of moving from data collection to insightful visualisations.

  1. Getting acquainted with data formatting

The first step is understanding the format of the data and getting it ready to import into your BI tool. Understanding how to work with the data and its limitations (data set, size and source) can be the first hurdle if you are a beginner. A tool such as Power BI connects to hundreds of data sources and also lets you use content packs, either from a third party like Salesforce or Marketo, or your own organisation, more information on Power BI can be found here.

  1. Empower your employees with business intelligence tools

The Microsoft Office team recently partnered with Levo, a network for millennials in the workplace to poll 1,500 community members to find out more about their productivity habits and challenges. Interestingly 93% of respondents believe productivity is important to happiness. What does this mean for BI? It highlights the need to source a BI tool which empowers timely decision making, with real-life implications for your business, whilst driving employee productivity.

  1. Focus on data discoveries

You have chosen a tool which is fit for purpose and you have imported some new data in the correct format – what’s next? When working with a new data set, sometimes the implications of the data are not entirely obvious, it’s not always easy to draw conclusions and uncover the story behind the data. Leading BI tools leverage machine learning advanced analytical algorithms to find insights within a dataset, update dashboards in real-time and look for outliers that might lead to other interesting stories.

  1. Getting creative with visuals

Using different visualisations can help to uncover the meaning behind the data. Just because it isn’t obvious doesn’t mean there isn’t a story there, BI tools should be flexible and able to present data in several different ways depending on how you like to work. Sometimes this means creating a visual from scratch, or tweaking an existing one. Power BI’s visuals and framework are built using technologies such as D3, HTML5 and CSS3 and the code is open source, so you can visit GitHub to create your own high quality custom visuals.

  1. Make your tech work for you as a data storyteller

You have interpreted the data and now you need to communicate your findings to stakeholders within the business. If you are ready to build skills as a data storyteller, you need to tackle the tech, and refine your understanding of data visualisation. Think about how to use data visualisation for storytelling, how you can leverage graphics, data exploration, and how to choose the right graphics, design and narrative. Watch this video to see how Microsoft Power BI teamed up with renowned visualisation expert Alberto Cairo to share the methodology behind graphics and how they can support data storytelling.

Businesses need easy-to-use analytics products that deliver complex analysis and insights with a low cost of ownership. Data is the lifeblood of businesses, and competitive advantage is fuelled by the ability to analyse vast stores of it to surface key insights. Advanced Analytics, based on Cortana Intelligence and Power BI are natively embedded within Dynamics 365 to empower people to be more data driven and guide them to optimal outcomes. Microsoft Power BI is recognised as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics. For more information regarding data storytelling and Power BI visit our website or contact Prodware.

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