In his career as an analyst, actuary, and practicing data scientist, Patrick Nord has faced the challenge of communicating his insights in a manner which business users could understand and from which they could take action. Executives at major broadcasting and manufacturing companies raised the same objections of data not being trustworthy or numbers being twisted to say anything. Even worse was delivering major reporting tools or dashboards and having them sit unused. (In a survey of hundreds of data scientists and analysts, Patrick found that this exact issue was in every one of their top five challenges they face in their job.)
The solution is very simple and is beginning to be implemented at giants in the analytics world like IBM—a process Patrick calls data distilling, which revolves around applying simple design principles to the presentation of data. Patrick outlines the five basic steps of data distilling.
Data presentation is not data visualization, although that is a part of it. Data presentation is the story that you tell with the data. It includes visualizations that are appropriate and meaningful to the audience, metrics that matter, and a story to go with it. You’ll leave with the basic tools to help you communicate your data insights, even to the unreceptive executive teams that we all seem to encounter.
Patrick Nord is the director of big data, analytics, and insights for Archetype SC, a bespoke IT consultancy based out of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where he leads a team of consultants providing data-driven solutions to clients ranging from SMB to Fortune 500 companies, including numerous banks, airlines, manufacturers, marketing agencies, and insurance companies. Patrick is an accomplished analyst and consultant, having provided services to government entities and Fortune 500 companies across industry verticals. His particular expertise is operationalizing data—turning disparate data sources into cogent and actionable insights. The insights and intelligence he has provided are directly responsible for tens of millions of dollars in increased revenue and even more in cost savings. Patrick has presented at numerous IBM events, including most recently as the keynote speaker for IBM’s Datapalooza Denver.
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