This week web analysts & business intelligence professionals met at the 15theMetrics Summit in San Francisco in order to exchange ideas, talk about common issues and listen to some really interesting presentations.
Many of these presentations were focussed on two main topics: How to tell a story and how to communicate with those who need data, in an efficient way.
Though there weren’t that many new insights, there were some great speakers that were able to present their topics in a way that helped people to see the bigger picture and to look at their work from a different perspective, offering some simple tools to make their work more efficient.
How to tell a story
Take Lea Pica for example. We all know that slides and reports should provide all necessary insights without confusing the audience with an overload of information. With the P.I.C.A. method she enables people to tackle this in just four simple steps:
- Purpose: Before you start be aware of what’s the purpose of the slide you’re working on
- Insight: What’s the story I want to tell?
- Content: Am I using all available data to paint the full picture?
- Aesthetics: Get rid of unnecessary details, keep it colour neutral except for what you want to highlight.
See below a real life example of how Pica used those 4 steps to transform a slide:
How to communicate with those who need data, in an efficient way
Data analysts are often fulfilling data requests for co-workers from other departments. A lot of times these people have very different fields of expertise leading to misunderstandings, frustration on both sides, and a waste of working time as tasks have to be worked on several times to get it right.
Brilliant speaker Tim Wilson from Web Analytics Demystified tackled this problem in a very entertaining presentation, breaking down data analytics into two simple but essential questions:
- What are we trying to achieve? -> Agree on the (again) purpose of the report you are working on before you start.
- How will we know if we’ve done that? -> Once you have done that, agree on the metrics you need in order to fulfil this purpose.
The keynote speeches also offered some interesting insights. Shiyi Pickrell from Microsoft for example, talked about the effort Microsoft has been taking to shape their data base in a more customer centric way, by taking on the huge project of unifying customer data from all their different products from MS Office to Xbox.
Overall the two conference days provided an interesting glimpse of the field of data analytics and proved to be a good way to connect with like-minded people, swapping some ideas and gaining new insights so if you are close to any of the upcoming events I can recommend to attend.