Business recognizes the importance of data storytelling, but is still insufficiently utilized


A quarter of all European companies indicate that they tell stories based on data, also known as data storytelling. 10% of these organizations use this very regularly. In addition, 15 percent of the organizations currently evaluate the benefits of this technology. This is evident from research by Qlik®, leader in visual analytics, in collaboration with BARC and Cognizant for the adoption of data storytelling within European companies.


Of the organizations that already use data storytelling, the majority of respondents use presentation software such as Prezi or PowerPoint (73%) or Excel (54%) and related solutions. However, these solutions offer limited possibilities for visual analysis. While 61 percent visual analyzes are the most widely used functionality to facilitate data storytelling.


New chances with data storytelling

The respondents were also asked what benefits they see in data storytelling. Almost three quarters (74%) indicates that their revenue increases by data storytelling, for example, by launching new services and products or entering new markets. 20 percent suggests that with data storytelling they distinguish themselves from competition and 85 percent say that resources can be allocated more efficiently.


Use data storytelling especially limited to data specialists

The research shows that of all functions, especially data specialists benefit from data storytelling. Only 23 percent of all line managers and 12 percent of employees who sometimes work with data embrace data storytelling. Looking at the sections that use data storytelling, we see that management (56%) and the finance department (46%) make the most of data storytelling. Employees of these departments represent almost half (46%) of all respondents. This can be explained by the fact that they are responsible for management reporting.


Classical Business Intelligence

Furthermore, research results show that almost all organizations use classical business intelligence (95%). Of the organizations that want to implement data storytelling techniques, the majority wants to do this in the short term – within twelve months.


“Talking stories is not new. Think back to the stories for sleep or stories during the campfire, “says Dan Sommer, Senior Director Global Market Intelligence at Qlik. “Telling stories is more important than ever in a world where organizations are faced with enormous amount of data. Linking data to a story makes it possible to create an emotional bond with the facts. That works much better than when the story and data remain separate. This approach is particularly effective if there is a direct link to the original data and visualizations. If you can go back and forth throughout the process and continuously check and see all data, you can increase your confidence and work more flexibly. “


“Data storytelling and visual analytics are important ways to present analytical results,” said Karthik Krishnamurthy, Senior Vice President and Global Head Cognizant Digital Business Practices. “Yet, too few employees have the tools needed to do this in an effective way. Stories supported by facts contribute to behavioral changes in the field of operational decision making. Organizations and their employees can only make the most of the potential of analyzes when the target group understands the insights and takes action. Therefore, we encourage organizations to invite their employees, regardless of their role, to tell stories based on data. “


About the research

The online user survey was conducted in several European countries during the period from September to October 2016. BARC promoted the survey through websites, events and email newsletters. There were a total of 250 people participating in the research. Participants came from the Benelux, Germany, France, Austria, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. The respondents were active in a wide range of sectors, including business services, manufacturing, financial services, retail and public sector.