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European BARC study sponsored by Qlik and Cognizant looks into the way organisations are embracing data storytelling, with three quarters using it as a revenue generator and a fifth using it to gain a competitive advantage 

Qlik®, a leader in visual analytics, today announced new research in collaboration with BARC and Cognizant, looking at the way organisations worldwide are embracing data storytelling. According to the research, one in ten organisations are using data storytelling on a regular basis, with a further 15% starting to evaluate the benefits of telling stories with their data. Of those using data storytelling, the majority are still using presentation software (73%), while over half are using Excel (54%) – despite its lack of features for visual analysis. Yet, interestingly, the feature data storytelling is most used for is data visualization (61%).

The study, which surveyed 250 people from across Europe, shows the benefits of data storytelling, with nearly three quarters (74%) able to use it as a revenue generator, increasing their company’s turnover by enabling new offers or addressing new markets. Nearly a fifth, meanwhile, said they use storytelling to gain a competitive advantage, while 85% are able to optimise resource allocation through it.

As to the staff within the business making use of data storytelling, it’s still very much seen as a tool for data specialists – only 23% of management in each line of business are embracing data storytelling, while only 12% of casual data users are doing so. After management (56%), finance and controlling are the most well-represented departments – nearly half (46%) of our data storytellers were from those teams. Most likely due to their responsibility for creating reports that inform management about the current state of the enterprise to help assist with decisions.

Getting insights from data is, however, something resonating across businesses. The survey showed that classic BI is used in almost every company (95%), with 95% using it for reports. Of those looking to make the move to using data storytelling techniques, the majority want to have it in place quickly – within the next 12 months. And it makes sense – nearly half (48%) said they need to become more agile.

Speaking about the benefits of data storytelling for businesses, Vincent Cadoret, CIO of Omnicom Media Group France, said, “We’ve chosen Qlik Sense® for its data storytelling functionality, which will allow us to present data to clients clearly, to avoid losing them during complex explorations, and to provide relevant commentary which will anticipate their questions.’’

“Storytelling is nothing new – it’s a tool we’ve all grown up with, from huddles around the fireplace, to bedtime stories and sharing anecdotes at dinner parties,” said Dan Sommer, Senior Director, Global Market Intelligence, Qlik. “In a world of data overload, it’s more important than ever. Connecting data to a story is a chance to strike an emotional connection with facts – which is much better than the two being disconnected.”. “It’s especially effective if you have a direct lineage back to the original data, and visualizations. If you can go back and forth, hold the hand of the data through-out the entire supply chain, you get much more trust, and agility”

“Narrative and data storytelling – along with visual analytics – are important ways to communicate analytical results, yet there are still too few people with the tools do so effectively within businesses,” said Karthik Krishnamurthy, SVP and Global Head, Cognizant Digital Business – Practices. “Behavioral changes in decision-making and operations are powered by evidence based data stories, and organizations and people are not using analytics to its potential until others understand the insights and act on it. We, therefore, urge every organization to equip their workforce, whatever their role, to tell effective data stories that will resonate and effect change.”

For more information on Qlik’s data storytelling capabilities and how it can be used to effect change within your organisation, please visit:

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