Scenarios for a Qlik Sense data story

Real data storytellers know that data framed in a story is much more effective than data standing all alone by its naked self. They also know that storytelling is a giant that can lose much of its power when tied down to a vendor’s product.

We can applaud Qlik for respecting these facts. We can also applaud McKesson senior director of procurement analytics Jin Ro, who talked about storytelling last Thursday at the Qlik Virtual Forum. And let’s give an extra whistle for saving any mention of Qlik Sense for the end.

In his half hour keynote, he started with the case for stories: He recounted an experiment in which stories were shown to be far more memorable than data. Of subjects shown a series of presentations with data alone and with story, only five percent remembered any data but 95 percent remembered a story that had been told.

A story is also more persuasive, as shown by a different experiment: shown two pamphlets, the one showing data alone lost badly to a second one that told a story about a girl in need.

Eventually, he told a data story of his own. Back when he worked at Accenture, he helped a group move a group of suppliers from average 30-day net payment to 45 days and to calculate the benefits.

The group was using median averages, but Ro saw that that was the wrong way to look at it. Though median average do work in many cases, this wasn’t one of them. He persuaded the group to switch to spend-weighted averages. He did it using scenarios — that’s where the “story” comes in — in which he compared median and spend-weighted averages among several large suppliers.

Watch the video at the Qlik Virtual Forum on-demand page. Look for “Customer keynote: data, analytics, and storytelling.” (You’ll have to register.)

As a story, it seems to have been basic, though it’s hard to tell from his description. But it worked. And as a showcase for storytelling, his keynote was a hit.

What you can do: Try scenarios.

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