Sunday, October 4, 2020

Let the Data “Do the Talking”

 The data-support communication is more persuasive, comprehensive, and powerful to enforce trustworthy relationships.

We live in a world with exponential growth of information, which brings both opportunities and risks for people and businesses today. There's the implication that, with enough data, which can be refined into insight to make communication more trustful, and decision more fact-based. 

Perhaps one of the important digital mantras to foster communication is that “let the data do the talk,” to advocate fact-based communication and cultivate a culture of accountability to improve organizational effectiveness and maturity.

Information-savvy people can lead to more persuasive and evidence-based communication: How to make effective communication much depends on the individual, the enterprise, and the corporate culture. Communication is nothing new, it's the integration of the art with science. The science of communication is how to apply information to make comprehensive analysis of circumstances, gain an in-depth understanding of subjects, in order to make persuasive communication. In reality, there is not enough focus on data-based communication and decisions. Information based communication is not only about telling the “facts," but also about clarifying the business impact of those facts that ensures people engagement and improves decision maturity.

Keep in mind though, everything has two sides, data itself is not necessarily fun, drawbacks include that more data can end up in a "can't see the wood for the trees" problem. It's difficult to draw correct insights from data due to too many variables being involved generating noisy data. A lot of people get a bit caught up on the analysis as if this is the end of the process: data -> analysis -> conformance. No, if the data-based analysis doesn't lead to persuasive communication, effective decision and impressive performance, it's rubbish irrespective of the apparent eloquence.

Data must drive communication and decisions in the field without disclosing too much data, but "just enough" to help staff improve by small steps: Data regardless how big or complex does not make sense if not converted into usable information for harnessing communications and decision making to identify, analyze and solve issues for the better of the company and its stakeholders including customers. To put simply, data is not for its own sake, but to drive communication and decision effectiveness. For digital citizens who live in today's knowledge economy, the good time comes if you are a relentless learner, a persuasive communicator, a knowledge expert or a leadership influencer; the worst time comes if you dislike the change or learning, lack of good judgement, only get lost in the data ocean with a lot of struggling.

The whole point for doing analytics is to enforce data-based communication, make effective decisions and establish a course of action. Otherwise, it is futile to run any analysis at all. Either enforcing strategic communication in the boardroom or having touchy-feely chat with customers, let the data do the talk. The principle is to have the right dose of quality and secure data, turn data into information into knowledge, insight, and wisdom, enabling fact based communication to tailor different audiences, and making the right decisions at the right time by the right people to solve right problems.

There are effective tools that make it easier to tell stories with data: Storytelling is essentially one of the best ways to engage audiences. Information supporting presentations or stories need to be reliable and persuasive. The provenance of the information being presented must be readily available and a part of the data-based story; such as using a few interesting and easy to understand graphs to picture the problem at hand and show outliers to define the focus of the story.

When data analysis excites business executives, it is usually because of the story it is telling them about the underlying real world entity. So the challenges and skill are in the mapping of always imperfect data to the always complex underlying reality. Also, there is data and analytics technology that can be used to facilitate better communication and reduce the aforementioned problems. There are enterprise collaboration platforms and tools that enable employees to share information, enforce cross functional communication, brainstorm and contribute to either strategy or innovation. The real problem will always be to make sense of data from a business perspective, let the data do the talking and create a lasting effect of storytelling.

We live in the information exponential era, it directs the world's focus towards the importance of data analytics and its ability to affect people’s lives. Let the data do the talking. The data-support communication is more persuasive, comprehensive, and powerful to enforce trustworthy relationships about how well you implement the business strategy; how smoothly you manage changes; how boldly you catalyze innovation, and how cohesively you run a high mature digital organization.


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