Infocepts Partner Scott Taylor, also known as the “Data Whisperer,” speaks with Randy Bean, Innovation Fellow for Data Strategy at Wavestone and CDO Magazine Editorial Board Member in a video interview about the “three Vs” of the data narrative, techniques for better data storytelling, how to make a data narrative successful in an organization, and what his book has to offer.
Taylor has authored “Telling Your Data Story - Data Storytelling to Data Management,” his book on understanding the strategic value of data management. Infocepts is a leading data and analytics services firm and Wavestone is a Paris, France based global consultancy.
Taylor begins the conversation by shedding light on the “three Vs” of the data narrative- vocabulary, voice, and vision. Keeping leaders in mind, he starts by explaining the vocabulary aspect.
Scott Taylor | Infocepts Partner
According to Taylor, if someone is not a natural storyteller, they must choose the words and terminology well in a conversation. Especially for business leaders, he says, one must speak the language of business to speak to business.
Citing an instance, Taylor says that if a doctor were to speak to a patient, he would use a different approach than the one he would with fellow doctors.
Adding on, he says that the classic terminologies used in data management, including data quality, cleansing, and hygiene, do not hold importance for business leaders. Taylor maintains that the mention of participation in a data hygiene program is enough to clear a room full of stakeholders.
Therefore, it is critical to use action-oriented words and vocabulary that the organization or industry understands and resonates with.
Delving further, Taylor states that the voice aspect boils down to putting the narrative together and harmonizing as a group to a common voice. This could be the data leader’s elevator pitch around the importance of data, ensuring that the whole team understands and realizes the value data brings to the enterprise. He adds that this voice can come out in many different ways.
When it comes to vision, Taylor discusses how data strategy is always linked to business strategy. He states that what one does with data must enable the strategic intentions of the enterprise.
According to Taylor, data and technology are to help drive business forward. He states that organizations must focus on vocabulary, voice, and vision framework to craft organizational data stories.
Moving forward, Taylor breaks down the techniques of better data storytelling for data leaders. He suggests data leaders start by understanding the vision of the company first. To do so, Taylor advises listening to the CEOs, reading the annual reports, and looking at investors’ day presentations for public companies.
According to him, all these activities will enable data leaders to understand the vision of the company and how it is trying to achieve that vision. Therefore, the data leaders can accumulate the clues and connect data to that vision.
In addition, Taylor states that every company’s vision is to deliver value to its relationships through the brands at scale, and data comes in at the scaling part. Breaking it down further, he notes that if scale means technology, then technology contains hardware, software, and data.
With data comes data management, data science, data analytics, and so on. However, not many CEOs talk about the need for better data, says Taylor. Therefore, one of the biggest objectives of data leaders is to show the executives how data can help build better relationships and brands.
Adding on, Taylor asserts that there is a lot of data required about relationships to help grow, improve, and protect them. Similarly, there is a lot of data needed to scale a brand in terms of product distribution, assortment, creation, and innovation.
When asked about how to make a data narrative successful, Taylor asserts that the goal of a data leader is to ensure that the organization understands the value of data and what it brings to the organization. Some organizations that make the data narrative work, carry out an internal data marketing program and collaborate with other storytellers from communications, PR, marketing, or sales to tell and sell a story.
Furthermore, Taylor refers to newsletters that regularly share updates on what is happening in the data space, and identify different data heroes. He affirms that there are organizations that have regular meetings with a dedicated day for data and analytics, wherein a set of speakers sell the stories with examples.
Taylor states that it is crucial to show people the benefits of what one has to offer, so, the marketing aspect of reaching across the organization and getting the message out is the key to success.
Shedding light on his book “Telling Your Data Story: Data Storytelling for Data Management,” Taylor affirms that it is 99% buzzword-free. He shares that the book is a compendium of techniques to help people build data stories for data management. The book focuses on the data management, quality, stewardship, and governance side of the business.
Thereafter, Taylor shares how he found out that data storytelling space was mostly about analytical storytelling and felt there was room for a different kind of storytelling around the importance of data for organizations.
In conclusion, he affirms that he is trying to enable people to put the data story together to get funding. The story told needs to be like a sales pitch, and the book helps in understanding the techniques while putting the ideas together.
CDO Magazine appreciates Scott Taylor for sharing his data insights with our global community.