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Exasol Survey Shows Overwhelming Support for Data Storytelling

Results indicated most organizations rely solely on dashboards but the vast majority agree data storytelling is essential for communicating insights.

Note: TDWI’s editors carefully choose vendor-issued press releases about new or upgraded products and services. We have edited and/or condensed this release to highlight key features but make no claims as to the accuracy of the vendor's statements.

Exasol, an analytics database vendor, released survey results that indicate organizations see data storytelling as essential to communicating data insights.  An overwhelming 93 percent of decision-makers say that successfully leveraging data storytelling helps increase revenue, according to the survey.

However, it seems that organizations aren’t there yet. The research indicates that most organizations (82 percent) regularly use dashboards to communicate insights despite some flaws that render dashboards ineffective for certain purposes. Sixty-one percent of respondents cited lack of context as the biggest problem with dashboards, and more than half (53 percent) agreed that dashboards are often disregarded because of the time it takes to interpret them.

“This research illustrates the business value that comes from being able to effectively communicate data insights to everyone within an organization -- not just data or IT professionals” said Peter Jackson, chief data and analytics officer at Exasol. “Many people within a business don’t have the skill or the time to interpret complex dashboards. That’s where data storytelling skills make a difference -- data storytelling helps communicate insights to everyone, regardless of where they fall on the data literacy spectrum.”

Key findings from the survey illustrate the importance of data democratization and the power of data storytelling, including:

  • Data storytelling is a universal business language. Data storytelling goes beyond sharing the ‘what’ by also communicating the ‘why.’ Nearly all (92 percent) respondents agree that data storytelling is an effective way of communicating or delivering data and analytics results, and nearly three in four executives (71 percent) say data storytelling skills are very important when reporting results to the C-suite or other key business stakeholders.
  • Data is everyone’s business, but not everyone can interpret data dashboards. Nearly all (90 percent) business leaders agree that achieving data democratization is a priority for their business and say they are taking the necessary steps to achieve it. Yet 82 percent of organizations continue to use dashboards, a legacy approach to analyzing data that has proven to bear major challenges and insufficient outcomes. Over half (54 percent) of business leaders and data professionals say a downside to dashboards is trying to communicate too much, which is not surprising considering that 46 percent say the inability to tailor dashboards to each executive is an additional drawback.
  • Data storytelling creates data-driven organizations. Eighty-seven percent of respondents say their organization’s leadership team would make more data-driven decisions if insights were presented in a simpler and more easily understood way. Almost all (93 percent) of the business leaders and data professionals surveyed agree that decisions made as a result of successful data storytelling have the potential to help increase revenue.

The report, “From the ‘what’ to the ‘why’: How data storytelling is key to success,” is based on a survey of 500 decision makers from enterprises located in the U.S. with more than 1,000 employees.

The survey results emphasize the need for a more effective way to communicate data insights with people across positions and experience levels, but especially the C-suite and other key stakeholders since they are regularly making strategic business decisions. The majority (82 percent) of respondents are familiar with data storytelling and widely recognize it as an effective way to drive business success.

The report is available at; no registration is required.

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