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Data: The language of modern business leaders

Published: March 17th, 2017 By: Steve Proctor

“Time changes all things; there is no reason why language should escape this universal law.”— Ferdinand De Saussure

Regardless of the region or country you find yourself in, there is one common language among all modern business leaders — data. Used by giant multinationals and small, family-run businesses alike, data provides leaders with the insight they need to answer key business questions. In addition, while data was previously a language only understood and used by the IT department, today any department leading strategic business decisions must speak data.

Ninety per cent of the world’s data has been generated over the last two years.

Data visualization, which is the representation of data in a visual context such as a chart or map, makes data easier to read and gives it more significance. As an illustration, sifting through a list of the world’s 2,678 languages is not as compelling as demonstrating the scope and diversity of those languages on a world map such as the one shown above.

Modern business demands the ability to communicate with data — how advanced are your data literacy skills?

Data is most easily digested, and is lent more significance, when it is turned into a visual. Every day our senses are assailed by data ranging from raw data in text form to sophisticated visualizations. While strong, well presented textual data can improve understanding, data presented in visual form — provided it is presented logically — is far preferable in most cases. A visual format allows meaning to be extracted via patterns, trends and correlations, and leads to deeper insights for use in making sound business decisions.

To use data visualization to its full effect and with maximum impact, it is important to understand the fundamentals of analytics, including the techniques for discovering, exploring, and experimenting with data. From there, advanced analytics provides an understanding of new knowledge from large amounts of raw data. Data visualization combines the principles of art and science to make a more compelling and user-friendly story.

Modern Business Leaders Speak Data

Although it can be difficult to comprehend complex data coming in rapidly from a variety of sources, compelling images and graphics offer business leaders a depth of understanding that might otherwise have been impossible to achieve. Naturally, it takes technical and aesthetic skill to create impactful data visualizations. It is important that an enterprise understand how the visuals will be used to make decisions. As the leaders of today have access to a glut of information, it is imperative that they be equipped with the skills to make sense and best use out of it.

“There are so many insights to be discovered in your data. Without being able to decipher those insights, represent them in a compelling way, and communicate the meaning behind the data within your business, a key competitive advantage is lost. Any organization that is not currently educating all departments on the relevancy and necessity of data analytics visualization will lag behind.”—Ron McKay, Director Analytics, T4G

Start Communicating with Data

Although all languages were born in one specific area, there are no longer any boundaries keeping a language in that area. Similarly, data no longer lives in the realm of IT alone. Modern business demands that multiple departments within your organization develop fluency in using data, especially when it comes to supporting strategic decisions.


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