Walk into practically any conference room in America today and you are bound to walk into a discussion of some metric or figure or another chunk of information derived from data that the company has collected. The collection and use of big data have become commonplace in corporate America and beyond. Failure to use data in businesses is practically considered a sin. That being said, large quantities of data can certainly be difficult to process all at once. It needs to be made consumable first.
Here are our ideas for how to make data more consumable at scale:
Aim For More Visuals And Fewer Data Points
An outstanding data presentation finds the perfect combination of data points and imagery. Humans are visual creatures. We tend to absorb information better in a visual format. Projecting sales figures up on a screen is fine, but showing those same figures in a pie chart or bar graph has a more lasting impact on the audience. Somehow presenting that same information in a video format is even better!
Contextualize The Information
The capital of Egypt is Cairo, but that fact has no context in your life and is thus meaningless to you unless there is some outside reason why you need to know it. The same is true for every piece of data presented by your company. Context matters, and it should be at the forefront of any data presented. Dataversity.net, a website dedicated to explaining uses for Big Data for commerce purposes, adds important information about the value of context in a presentation here:
…Ideally, he says, you should describe, markup, tag, ontologize, semanticize, and schematize your data to contextualize it so it can be used to make evidence-driven smart decisions, and “here’s where rich Metadata becomes essential.” Context includes all the variables that express the full meaning of the data, its uses, and constraints.
You can help your data stand out more by adding backstory or flavor. It also keeps the audience engaged long enough to take in that information in the first place.
Make Sure The Data Is Relevant
This advice may seem obvious, but make sure the data presented is relevant to some specific and concrete objective of the company. It is becoming so much easier to collect data than it was in the past, and this has led to some companies collecting more than they honestly need. Irrelevant data is showing up left and right in company presentations, and it only serves to distract from the points of a presentation that matter. A few pieces of relevant data for most businesses include:
Sales figures compared to the year prior
Demographic information on the groups purchasing particular products/services
Detailed statistics on best-selling vs. worst-selling products/services
New markets that might be worth exploring
Relevant data provides something actionable that can be done with that information immediately. Anything short of that is just noise that can and should be ignored. It is costly to continue to collect data that is not directly relevant, so don’t waste your time and resources on that.
Present The Information To The Right People
Data is only consumable to those who are trained and prepared to consume said data. Some companies get so excited about the information that they have collected that they want to share it with everyone in the organization. This is rarely a prudent move. Information creates confidentiality concerns when presented so broadly. In addition, it also likely misses the mark it was intended for when everyone gets a peek at the information. It is better to be concise and present only to those who have a clear need to know the information. This is a key way to make data consumable.
Fresh Data Is The Best Data
Just like a good piece of fruit, the most consumable data is that which is the freshest. Information from years or even months ago is not nearly as actionable or exciting for any audience. It is best to keep the data as real-time as possible for most metrics. Try not to overcorrect for new information as it comes in, but be aware of what the present-day trends are to get the most value from your data.
The best way to get started is to get in contact with us here at Helios Company. We turn your data into actionable business information so you don’t have to.