Producing facts and displaying them in different types of charts and graphs have been a popular form of communication in boardrooms worldwide. On a daily basis, decision makers of all levels and functions are bombarded with “data-driven evidence” generated and packaged with beautiful layouts, bold fonts, and a spectrum of colors. Although extraordinary care and effort are used to build these reports, seldom is the story behind this data shared.

Attention is a rare commodity, but trust is even scarcer. No matter how unbiased they claim to be, people inherently form their decisions and thinking based on the credibility of the information and the messenger.

Breaking through this wall of preconceived notions requires more than creating better charts and graphs. It’s about going beyond the spreadsheet to separate fiction from the science of storytelling. And the more the story evokes a connection of emotion and trust, the more it will be embraced with open arms.

It’s time to create something better than charts and graphs 

In our world of 24×7 information, people are all too aware that some facts are misinterpreted and taken out of context to promote a certain agenda. This has led people to routinely challenge every statistic that conflicts with their preexisting worldview or perceptions. But even if the audience believes the data, they won’t care to connect it to the business unless there’s a particular story tied to it.

How you share your data story will determine the success of any initiative. By leveraging your innate ability to remember 65% of what we see (versus 10% of what we hear), you can craft a message that captivates your audience’s hearts and minds.

But this is not a job for your best charts and graphs – it’s a task that only data visualization is specifically designed to do. In three steps, this approach can take your organization to the future of data storytelling to deliver the consensus and outcomes your business needs.

Step 1: Acquire trustworthy data

Cleanse and prepare data by using point-and-click manipulation and visualization functions. With this one step, you can help ensure the integrity of data sets both large and small, adding credibility to the story you are about to tell.

Step 2: Create engaging visualizations from real-time data
The most valuable insights can’t be uncovered from rows of numbers and simple, yet disconnected, charts and graphs. Powerful, interactive visualizations can help decision makers truly see what’s most important. Users can create beautiful graphics – such as bar charts, bubble charts displayed on maps, or multidimensional charts – rendered in real time to support iterative analysis and consideration.

Step 3: Provide accurate real-time answers – no matter the volume of data processed and analyzed

Empower users to pull data directly from enterprise and personal sources and bring it together in a repeatable way without IT assistance. By making data visualizations and storytelling self-service, decision makers can quickly organize and consolidate data to find answers – even when they are buried in massive volumes of information.

Numbers have an important story to tell – share it 

In his book Now You See It: Simple Visualization Techniques for Quantitative Analysis, data visualization expert Stephen Few stated, “Numbers have an important story to tell. They rely on you to give them a clear and convincing voice.” In essence, data-driven insights are best shared as a story – it’s just a matter of finding your information’s voice.


The future of data storytelling does not lie in technology that creates visualizations, infographics, dashboards, and presentations. It’s our ability to communicate data insights in a way that matters to the audience and ignites empowerment to drive change. By understanding how data, visuals, and narratives work together, you can pull patterns, trends, and insights that would otherwise remain hidden in countless rows, columns, and spreadsheets.

Expand your data storytelling capabilities to propel your business to future growth and success. Explore how SAP BusinessObjects Lumira can help.

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