Business Tips

Using big data to discover and present big business insights

Photograph of two people in an office sitting at a desk talking while pointing at a Surface in Laptop mode, one is holding a Surface in Tablet mode

The term ‘Big Data’ is bandied about everywhere these days. But what is it and how do you use it to give your business an edge?

Big Data describes the gathering and storing of large volumes of information. Small to large companies and organisations use it to analyse insights, trends and patterns to help with better strategic decision making.

If you’re a substantial sized business, in whatever industry, it is likely that you’re collecting some big data on a daily basis. Think of Netflix, for example, which uses the big data from its customer base and interactions in the app to keep its customers engaged and predict what they like to retain their loyalty.

While the first step is gathering the data, the real benefit to big data comes when you learn to leverage its potential and then communicate this with your clients, customers and stakeholders. That is how you drive action and revenue.

Visualise data using software

The first step is to use a tool such as Power BI, Tableau, and Qlik, which create reports that visualise big data across a vast range of dashboards and graphs. They provide live information at your fingertips and help you to make business decisions from the insights.

Drawing from hundreds of data sources, they help you to simplify information into graphs that can be interpreted by humans. Effectively, you are enabling the robots to process at speed and scale, and visualising the information to help us ‘human’ to comprehend, draw insights and ask the right questions. That is our human advantage, and we need to maximise it.

Infographic with data represented in various ways including bar graphs and pie charts

At Presentation Studio, our role is to help companies make sense of this data. Our discovery workshops help clients understand the needs of their audience and unite this with their objectives. Then need to take that dashboard and create a clear message from it, to present the insight of what you have learned from the data and make it relevant to your audience and their needs.

Communicate the insights you learn

  Your data means nothing if you can’t communicate it clearly. We need to share the story and thinking behind the numbers that you collect.   Ask yourself:
  • How is this relevant or important to my business?
  • How do I share it using everyday words that my audience and stakeholders will understand and then act?
  • What is at stake for the audience and how does this information help me build trust with them or provide metrics that will help them act?
The trick is to show the insights that you glean from the data.   Graphs are excellent reference materials, but the message you need to share during a presentation needs to be more memorable.   For example, if we want to focus on the results for Japan, in this animation, we move from a data-heavy graph to show you an animated gif of the Japanese flag that then breaks into a pie chart. The results are emotional and more memorable. That is possible because we decided that is our focus.

Three slides, the first is a colorful bar graph, the second is the same bar graph with one section highlight, the third is a simple pie chart

  But if your insight is that the competition is everywhere and the landscape is very crowded, then you could show the graph again and a visual that evokes fear of a crowded scene. We work with many financial or tech companies who often think that they need to show the background information. You don’t – it’s about creating an emotional response, but using the facts to do it.

Two slides, the first is a bar graph with only the second part of the title highlighted, the second is the same section of title now graphically displayed over a contextual image

  If you want to take it a step further and talk about the competitive landscape and how you are going to stand out, then you could use visuals and images once again to steer your audience in the right direction.

IMAGE ALT TEXT Two slides, the first is bar graph with only the first part of the title highlighted, the second is the same section of title now graphically displayed over a metaphorical image

 

Remember 

  We need the big data and the research - but we can’t present that as is if we want our audience to remember it.   We need to share our point of view and create engagement that shares the insight memorably.    

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Business Insights and Ideas does not constitute professional tax or financial advice. You should contact your own tax or financial professional to discuss your situation.