Pivot Tables for Business
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Pivot Tables for Business
Turning information into knowledge using pivot tables
Curated by Ken Jondahl
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Scooped by Ken Jondahl

How to Use Pivot Tables and PowerPivot - With Slight Assembly Required...

The objective of this topic is to help you save time in surfing all of the various articles on pivot tables and to have the same dedicated resource I use myself.

I am always looking for "solid" content with the best advice on "how to build and use" pivot tables.  If you find any, please let me know.

Tags are used to help you find what you need quickly in newer versions of Excel. I do not plan to post content around older versions. (Before 2010)

TIP: The Mac content will be limited. My suggestion, get access to current PC version of Excel at work or college if you will be working in pivot tables for any extended time.

If you are unsure where to begin, try out these tags:

1 - Advanced Excel Users



2 - New to Pivot Tables




3 - Best Training: Training Courses


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PowerPivot with 100 Million Rows Data at Your Fingertips

PowerPivot for Excel is an Excel 2010 add-in that allows users to pull data from multiple sources, mash them up, and then build reports using regular pivot tables.


You can even share these reports with others in Microsoft SharePoint (via PowerPivot for SharePoint).


In this demo, Julie Strauss, Program Manager for Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services, shows just how easy it is to get a better view into your data.


Original source of the video on microsoft site:


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Rescooped by Ken Jondahl from Customer Experience | The How not the Why

Does Your Customer Experience Require Big Data or Little Data

Does Your Customer Experience Require Big Data or Little Data | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it

"Little Data is a collection of information on an individual or smaller group of  customers. Rather than using this data to spot a trend, the company uses the data to customize the customer’s experience."


Big Data: "While the collection of data is broad, based on a large amount of information and customer feedback, these companies are able to filter through it to understand general customer behavior and trends." By Shep Hyken


Read more: http://www.business2community.com/big-data/big-data-little-data-a-customer-experience-opportunity-waiting-to-happen-0448375

Via streetsmartprof
Ken Jondahl's insight:

If you are facing big data and little data stand offs over which is right for your company. This may offer up some ideas of how many companies should likely meet in the middle.

streetsmartprof's curator insight, April 7, 2013 9:44 PM

It is refreshing to see someone write an article from both sides of the data equation as Shep has in this one.


If your business is one where you watch trends for general information, yet prefer the personal touch, because your customers are "human". Give this one a read.


Granted it is about a hotel chain which is more B2C than B2B, however, the thoughts and principles followed transcend to B2B very smoothly.


Shep discusses a hotel chain which knocks it out of the park with customer experience measures and satisfaction. Their focus is on the individual guest versus their customer group in mass.

Scooped by Ken Jondahl

Have a Boring Pivot Table Report to Give | Engage Through Storytelling

"Story has played a significant role in all cultures but its adoption into professional cultures has been painfully slow." - Nancy Duarte

Ken Jondahl's insight:

Nancy lays out the difference between a boring report and telling a story on the other end of the extreme.


She then helps define how to use a presentation to mix the two extremes together. Some how you need to make your data come to life.


One of the best ways is through the power of story. Or you can just put everybody to sleep and go on to your next project.

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Clear Old Items in Pivot Table Drop Downs

Clear Old Items in Pivot Table Drop Downs | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it
Change a Pivot Table Setting

In Excel 2007 or Excel 2010, you can change a pivot table setting, to prevent old items from appearing.

Right-click any cell in the pivot table, and click PivotTable optionsIn the PivotTable Options dialog box, click the Data tabIn the Retain Items section, select None from the drop down list.Click OK, then refresh the pivot table.
Ken Jondahl's insight:

The article goes on to provide a macro to clear out old items in excel 2002 or 2003.


Unless there is a real compelling reason to stay with the old version of Excel, you will save yourself a lot of pain and missery, update to 2010 or newer


The usage of "tables" and "filters" in 2010 is well worth the upgrade cost and hassle.


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Suggested by streetsmartprof

Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics

Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it

"There are lots of books on visualization that describe best practices and design concepts, but what do you do when it comes time for you to actually make something?"

"If you don't know how to use the software in front of you, the abstract isn't all that useful. And with growing amounts of data, it's becoming more important to be able to make sense of and communicate with it all."


"In Visualize This, Nathan Yau teaches you how to create graphics that tell stories with real data, and you'll have fun in the process. Learn to make statistical graphics in R, design in Illustrator, and create interactive graphics in JavaScript and Flash & Actionscript."

Ken Jondahl's insight:

If your job/role requires the types of skills as presented in the above book, here is a chapter to preview before considering any type of a purchase.



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Rescooped by Ken Jondahl from Content Curation World

Curating and Data Sense Making - Key Skill for the Future - Excellent Pointers for Pivot Table Creators

Curating and Data Sense Making - Key Skill for the Future - Excellent Pointers for Pivot Table Creators | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it

Robin Good: The Institute for the Future and the University of Phoenix have teamed up to produce, this past spring, an interesting report entitled Future Work Skills 2020.


By looking at the set of emerging skills that this research identifies as vital for future workers, I can't avoid but recognize the very skillset needed by any professional curator or newsmaster.


It should only come as a limited surprise to realize that in an information economy, the most valuable skills are those that can harness that primary resource, "information", in new, and immediately useful ways.


And being the nature of information like water, which can adapt and flow depending on context, the task of the curator is one of seeing beyond the water, to the unique rare fish swimming through it.


The curator's key talent being the one of recognizing that depending on who you are fishing for, the kind of fish you and other curators could see within the same water pool, may be very different.


Here the skills that information-fishermen of the future will need the most:


1) Sense-making:

ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed


2) Social intelligence:

ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions


3) Novel and adaptive thinking:

proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based


4) Cross-cultural competency:

ability to operate in different cultural settings


5) Computational thinking:

ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning


6) New media literacy:

ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication


7) Transdisciplinarity:

literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines


8) Design mindset:

ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes


9) Cognitive load management:

ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques


10) Virtual collaboration:

ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team.


Critical to understand the future ahead. 9/10


Executive Summary of the Report: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapolloresearchinstitute.com%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Ffuture-work-skills-executive-summary.pdf 


Download a PDF copy of Future Work Skills 2020: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapolloresearchinstitute.com%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Ffuture-skills-2020-research-report.pdf  

Via Robin Good
Beth Kanter's comment, December 21, 2011 12:34 AM
Thanks for sharing this from Robin's stream. These skills sets could form the basis of a self-assessment for would-be curators, although they're more conceptual - than practical/tactical. Thanks for sharing and must go rescoop it with a credit you and Robin of course
janlgordon's comment, December 21, 2011 12:56 AM
Beth Kanter
Agreed. It's also one of the articles I told you about....good info to build on:-)
Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, September 4, 2014 7:34 AM

Curating Information and Data Sense-Making Is The Key Skill for the Future [Research]

Rescooped by Ken Jondahl from Customer Experience | The How not the Why

During Data Analysis, "Don't Show Up and Throw Up"

During Data Analysis, "Don't Show Up and Throw Up" | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it

Death by PowerPoint does not resonate with your audience.


"I've found that the most effective presenters use the same techniques as great storytellers: By reminding people of the status quo and then revealing the path to a better way, they set up a conflict that needs to be resolved."


"That tension helps them persuade the audience to adopt a new mindset or behave differently — to move from what is to what could be. And by following Aristotle's three-part story structure the beginning, middle, end, they create a message that's easy to digest, remember, and retell. - Nancy Duarte)


Review by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling:

Here is a quick and concise post on the essential elements of creating a presentation as a story from presentation master Nancy Duarte.


I love how she chunks the presentation down into manageable chunks and gives examples as we go along so we can really get it.


Now you have this template, there's no excuse for creating 'death by PowerPoint'!




This is the fourth post in Nancy Duarte's blog series on creating and delivering presentations, based on tips from her new book, the HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations. The other 3 articles are listed at the bottom of the 4th article link above.


If you prefer to watch the video by Nancy, go here:


Via Dr. Karen Dietz, streetsmartprof
Giselle Hardt's curator insight, March 23, 2013 2:15 PM

Voici les principes que je ne cesse d'inculquer aux participants de mes formations...l'époque des présentations ennuyeuses et révolue, place au storytelling dans les présentations.

Scooped by Ken Jondahl

Calculate Differences in a Pivot Table

Calculate Differences in a Pivot Table | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it

"A pivot table is a great way to summarize data, and most of the time you probably use a Sum or Count function for the values."


However, there are times it makes more sense to calculate the difference, such as if you are reviewing monthly sales by sales person and comparing to the previous month.


From the article: "One of my favourite custom calculations is Difference From. It subtracts one pivot table value from another, and shows the result."


*In the pivot table below, two copies of the Units field have been added to the pivot table.
*The heading in the original Units field has been changed to Units Sold.

* The second Units field is showing the difference from each week's sales to the previous week's sales.


Read the full article or watch the video for more ideas/examples of how to use this feature.


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Show Missing Items in Excel Pivot Table

Show Missing Items in Excel Pivot Table | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it

Have you ever applied a filter and noticed as you view the information, some of the detailed items disappear from view? This is becuase the default setting of a pivot table is to "hide items with no data"


The good news, there is a setting down inside to change this default "field setting". From the article:


"To make all the items appear, even if the pivot table is filtered, you can change a Layout setting in the pivot table."


NOTE: "This setting applies to a single field, so you'll have to make the following change to each field in which you want to see all the items.


To show all items for a pivot field in Excel 2010 or 2007:


1 - Right-click an item in the pivot table field, and click Field Settings

2 - In the Field Settings dialog box, click the Layout & Print tab.

3 - Check the 'Show items with no data' check box.

4 - Click OK


Read the full article for an example of why you may want to do this using customer data.


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Suggested by streetsmartprof

Big Data Discussed at Stanford's Digital Marketing Program

Big Data Discussed at Stanford's Digital Marketing Program | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it

"Given how important digital marketing, social media and big data have emerged in defining and implementing customer-centered strategies, Stanford’s first-ever Digital Marketing Program looked worth attending. I look at education like an accelerator; it can propel both individuals and entire organizations to their goals faster, with greater insight and clarity."


"What made this program so valuable was the focus on practical, pragmatic advice from professionals who are excelling in digital marketing, social media and big data."


The last part of the article focuses on big data, based on a presentation by:


"Dr. Andreas Weigend, former Chief Scientist at Amazon.com who now teaches at Stanford and directs the Social Data Lab, delivered an excellent presentation titled How to Use Social Data to Rewrite the Rules. Here are several of the key take-aways from his discussion:"


"Dr. Weigend defines the eight rules of Big Data as follows:


1 Collect everything

2 Give data to get data

3 Start with the problem, not with the data

4 Focus on metrics that matter to your customers

5 Drop irrelevant constraints

6 Embrace transparency

7 Make it trivially easy for people to connect, contribute, and collaborate

8 Let people do what people are good at, and computers do what computers are good at


Read the full article and drop to the last section if only looking for big data. Digital marketing and social media are covered first.


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Rescooped by Ken Jondahl from Just Story It

Telling tales with data

Telling tales with data | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it

Let's begin with an article that appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) at the end of last year. Narrative vs Evidence-Based Medicine—And, Not Or was written by Zachary Meisel and in it he said: "Scientific reports are genuinely dispassionate, characterless, and ahistorical. But their translation and dissemination should not be. Stories are an essential part of how individuals understand and use evidence."


Data is supposed to be cold and objective; but the dissemination of your data can be warm and subjective. So go ahead, tell a story with your data. Because if you don't, you run the risk of falling behind. As Meisel continued: "Those who espouse only evidence—without narratives about real people—struggle to control the debate. Typically, they lose."


It’s become pretty much axiomatic these days that if you're really serious about getting your data across to your audience, you need to tell a story with it. Stories are more engaging and convincing than mere data. If you want to influence someone’s behaviour you need to touch their heartstrings and move them to tears. And you won't do that if you only engage their logical left brains. No, you also need to impose yourself on their creative and emotional right brains.


Which all sounds promising and exciting, but we need to remember that it's data we’re talking about here. Data is logical and soul-less and is usually a collection of seemingly disconnected facts. How are we going to fit that into a story?


Love this article with good ideas for keeping storytelling with data sweet and simple.


Thanks Gregg Morris @greggvm and his Story and Narrative curation for originally finding this post!

Via Dr. Karen Dietz
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Scooped by Ken Jondahl

Office 2010 Class #39: Excel VLOOKUP Function Formula Made Easy (3 Examples)

The Excel 2010 Basics Series shows a systematic description of what Excel can do from beginning to end.


Topics Covered In Video:


1. See how to use the VLOOKUP function to look up an item in a table and return something to a cell

2. VLOOKUP with Exact Match (Lookup a word)

3. VLOOKUP with Approximate Match (Lookup a number)

4. Data Validation List (Data Ribbon tab, Data Tools Group, Data Validation) Keyboard = Alt, D, L.

5. VLOOKUP for looking up product price

6. VLOOKUP for looking up tax rate

7. VLOOKUP to assign a sales category to a sales number


Download files at: https://people.highline.edu/mgirvin/AllClasses/216_2003/216/busn216.htm

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Import Data From SQL Tables into Power Pivot and Create a Multi-dimensional Cube on the Fly

Use the PowerPivot Add-in for Excel to import data from Microsoft SQL Server relational databases.


The video shows how to quickly import 6 different tables from a SQL data base and filter the imported data on the fly.


Allowing power users of excel who have access to appropriate tables in SQL and/or other data sources to quickly simulate and review various relationships in the data fields in a graphical pivot chart and/or table.


Once a simulation has been tested out and proven to be the one you are after. Then it is time to consider rolling out the reporting on an enterprise level if required via the right tools for your company.


If all you require is the pivot chart/table for your own work, you have created the tools on your desktop in short order.

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Gentle Introduction to Exploring and Understanding Data in Pivot Tables

Gentle Introduction to Exploring and Understanding Data in Pivot Tables | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it

This course was created for the School of Data by Tactical Technology Collective. Tactical Tech is an international NGO working at the point where rights advocacy meets information and technology.


This course builds on Tactical Tech’s earlier course for the School of Data, A Gentle Introduction to Cleaning Data.


Table of Contents:


1: Getting Started

2: Make a pivot table even more useful by adding ‘data fields’

3: Adding columns to pivot tables

4: Adding charts to pivot tables

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Suggested by streetsmartprof

Improving the Value of Customer Experience Analytics | Can Pivot Tables Help?

"The adoption of predictive analytics in business is on the rise and for good  reason. Companies that use analytics outperform those that do not."


"The value  received from analytics, however, can still be improved by businesses who have  adopted an analytics approach to decision making."


"First, businesses need to  focus on measuring the right customer variables using reliable and valid  metrics."


"Second, executives need to deal with strategic business issues rather than tactical issues."


"Finally, businesses need to integrate their different data silos to answer different customer-centric questions."


"Read more: http://www.business2community.com/customer-experience/improving-the-value-of-customer-experience-analytics-0432117

Ken Jondahl's insight:

From past experience, one of the better questions to ask when heading down the path of setting up metrics is:


What business decisions can be made with the information we are going to gather and report on?


If the answer is I don't know and/or their is silence, you may want to go back to the beginning and this article will help provide a road map.


There is no magic around picking the right variables to measure. However, keep them as high level as possible and figure out how you are going to report on them at the same time.


If you are unable to determine a relationship amongst all the variables which would allow you to dump the raw data into excel and create a pivot table, take a hard look at the raw data being gathered. Perhaps some sort of heirarchy would help and/or other ways to structure the data being gathered.


NOTE: I am not recommending to use a pivot table to create predictive analytics. Use them to test your data structures and variables across silo's.


One simple example, customer names. Are they even spelled the same in the CRM and the "Order to Cash" systems of the company?

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Suggested by streetsmartprof

Learn how to find, process, analyze and visualize data | Free Online Classes from School of Data

Learn how to find, process, analyze and visualize data | Free Online Classes from School of Data | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it

School of Data is an online community of people who are passionate about using data to improve our understanding of the world, in particular journalists, researchers and analysts.


Why do we do this?


Firstly, we believe that helping people to engage with data, find stories and build applications using it will lead to better data-driven policy making and improved transparency and accountability.


Furthermore, we aim to produce some of the much-needed data wranglers and experts who will satisfy the huge skills gaps in the job market.


Finally we want to create a new generation of people who can think creatively using data, make it fun and use it to make the planet a better place.


See more at:



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Scooped by Ken Jondahl

Tired of Looking at Empty Cells in Your Pivot Table

"One of my viewers asked me how to prevent empty cells from displaying in a Pivot Table. This is a common request."

Ken Jondahl's insight:

If all you want is the tip, jump to 2:10 in the video or just click this link which will start at 2:10 after the ad allows you to jump forward.



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Suggested by streetsmartprof

Tutorials - Data Charts-Mapping - Pivot Table-Chart Ideas

Tutorials - Data Charts-Mapping - Pivot Table-Chart Ideas | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it

Making visual mapping of data out of pivot tables is a skill set to be developed.


Different types of data sets are best compared in different types of charts. A few of the first things to consider are the importance to geography, time lines and/or visual sizing of data sets to help the "viewer" of the charts achieve a higher level of comprehension of what is below the surface of the numbers.


Here is a site which provides ideas beyond those you'll find in Excel and leads to reasonably priced/free tools which can map out summarized data into different types of visual layouts.

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Rescooped by Ken Jondahl from Corporate Challenge of Big Data

Want to Kill Your Career? Just Ignore the Big Data Boom

Want to Kill Your Career? Just Ignore the Big Data Boom | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it

Listed below are a few trends which are pushing the use of "big data" into the "C-level" of companies. "


Which means skill sets to "go below the hood" and discover, analyze and present the findings of data trends to help make decisions is on the rise.


The skills a person learns by working with pivot tables are "similar" skill sets which are going to be used in the big data universe. The reality, not everyone is comfortable reviewing millions of records and coming back with observations of trends, (the nuggets of information businesses need). If you are one of these people, working directly with a CIO and/or the CMO as their business analyst may not be such a bad career.


Read the article for ideas of the types of challenges the CIO is going to be facing in the years ahead.  If these topics look interesting and you see yourself helping out, start tracking a few companies which you see using big data to determine how you might be able to help.


This is one way to begin to look and help create your ideal job. One you like, one they need, and one they'll pay you to do.




A few trends/areas in big data which are developing:


"...there are now 9 billion devices connected to the Internet—mostly computers and smartphones—that number will soar to 50 billion by 2020..."


"...world’s leading healthcare systems is looking to “unlock the secrets of human health” by integrating and analyzing data that had been trapped in 200 disparate silos of clinical, genomic, financial, and administrative systems?"


"...breakthroughs in medical science and information technology are triggering the convergence of the healthcare industry and the life-sciences industry that will lead to personal-genome sequencing for $1,000 or less?"

Via Ian Sykes
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Scooped by Ken Jondahl

Many Charts but One Pivot Table Cache

Many Charts but One Pivot Table Cache | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it

"...produce several Charts based on one Pivot Table, so that on ‘Refresh’ all of his Charts will be refreshed."


"Bill says the key is having only One Pivot Cache. Follow along with Episode #1596 as Bill shows us how to create several Charts based on this One Pivot Cache."


The net result is each pivot chart is tied to a single pivot table which all use the same "cache". When refresh any single chart or pivot table, all pivot tables and charts will update at the same time.

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Scooped by Ken Jondahl

Clear All Fields From a Pivot Table to Start Over

Clear All Fields From a Pivot Table to Start Over | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it

Some times you'll need to start over with a pivot table becuase the choices made, such as field layout and data sets is just not working.  In the past, I just deleted the pivot table and started over or I copied another pivot table and started from this point.


Another option is to clear all of the fields with a single command.


From the article:


"If you're using Excel 2010 or 2007, it's easy to clear the pivot table, using a Ribbon command."


* Select a cell in the pivot table that you want to clear.

* On the Ribbon, under PivotTable Tools, click the Options tab.

* In the Actions group, click Clear, then click Clear All

* All the pivot fields are removed, and you're left with an empty pivot table layout.


Full article is here:


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Rescooped by Ken Jondahl from Just Story It

Data Visualisation Success Hinges on Solid Storytelling Skills

Data Visualisation Success Hinges on Solid Storytelling Skills | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it
Learn more about the value of data visualisation. Tableau's Jock Mackinlay explains why data is inert and worthless without the twin practices of visualisation and storytelling.


This is a quick piece that makes some valuable points. Frankly, I'm not a hard-core data head. Yet I love looking at spreadsheets, bar charts, line charts and other visual displays of data in order to make meaning of the material and spot trends. 


There is a whole science to displaying data in meaningful ways (see Edward Tufte's work) that we don't need to go into here. But what I like about this article is that it points to the fact that all the data in the world is meaningless until you can tell the story about what it is saying and what it means.

Storytelling and data go hand-in-hand.


Truly, those of us in the field of business storytelling need to build our data skills. And data-geeks need to develop their storytelling skills. Sounds like a match made in heaven!


Here's another aspect of storytelling that this article alludes to: yes, we all know it takes time to share a story and in this fast-paced world, it is not uncommon to hear "But who has the time?! Just give me the data to share. We've got to get moving!"  Ahhhhh -- huge mistake! Taking the time to share a story in the beginning makes projects go much more quickly. 


That sounds counter-intuitive, but I experience this phenomenon again and again.


Read the article for additional points on how the marriage of data and storytelling make for better decision making. They are worth remembering.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it ;

Via Bas Kooter, Dr. Karen Dietz
Samreen Sharif's comment, September 8, 2012 1:48 AM
Scooped by Ken Jondahl

Telling Stories with Data

Telling Stories with Data | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it

"This is a guest post by Joan DiMicco, who heads the IBM Visual Communication Lab. Matt McKeon, Karrie Karahalios, and Joan hosted a workshop on Telling Stories with Data. These are the highlights."


"What is a story? In a classic sense, a story has characters, events, and a progression. In our postmodern, meta-obsessed culture, we also tend to think about story in terms of the identities of the author and audience."


"Now what if the story involves data? How does visualization support telling a story with data? How do journalists think about data visualization as part of their stories? How can visualization tools help data storytellers construct narratives?"


Note: This article is one of those which will consume a weekend or so if you are really into how to tell a story with your data using visual techniques. There is so much under the cover that I plan to come back and break it apart into bit size pieces, however, this will take me a few weekends of time myself.


In the meantime, head over to the full article and enjoy the various new tools which may make your life misserable with "slight assembly required", however, in the end, depending on "your data" story, will be worth the time.


Full article is here:



If you want to jump right into the tools, go here:


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Suggested by streetsmartprof

You Can't Analyze Your Way to Growth - This requires looking under the hood

You Can't Analyze Your Way to Growth - This requires looking under the hood | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it

"Organizationally and behaviorally, analysis and appreciation are two very different things. Analysis is distant, done in office towers far from the consumer, (customer). It requires lots of quantitative proficiency but very little experience in the business in question. It depends on data-mining: finding data sources to crunch, often from data suppliers to the industry."


"Appreciation is intimate, done in close proximity to the consumer.  It requires qualitative proficiency and deeper experience in the business. It requires the manufacture of unique data, rather than the use of data that already exists."


"In my experience, most organizations have more of the former capabilities and behaviors than of the latter and hence most struggle with top-line growth.  The biggest issue isn't the absence of top-line growth opportunities but rather the lack of belief that they exist. And that is driven by the dominance of analysis over appreciation."


The article uses an example of how P&G launched a new type of cleaning product which was a radical change from the past. Typical analysis of the cleaner market would show growth corresponding to GDP growth. Yet P&G knocked it out of the park with their product line.


Perhaps the best take away from the story is to always remember, past performance is not an accurate predictor of the future. While analyzing data it is critical to identify sweet spots where your products and services go against the norm of standard growth aligned with something as simple as GDP.


This requires adding attributes to your data which go beyond population, geography and/or GDP. These are valid beginnings, yet consider other variable such as:


* What are the industries served

* What are the applications by main industries

* Type and size of companies using your products and services

* Which product groups are used by application and industry

* Industry and/or Market potential by sales territory/region

* Top products/services by $ sold

* Top products/services by profit $


Using a combination of variables is recommended. An example from a past experience with a manufacturing company which sold numerous products across multiple industries. Combinations of product groups by industry allowed them to see and group applications together to be able to see "under the hood" of the top level data. Identifying geographies with high market share and other areas which were only beginning.

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Suggested by streetsmartprof

The Power of Story in Business Analysis

The Power of Story in Business Analysis | Pivot Tables for Business | Scoop.it

"Tell me if you’ve heard this one before – you’re on a project that was thrust on your stakeholder groups from high above.  They were insufficiently consulted during the problem definition phase, and they are now questioning everything during implementation."


"These stakeholders can’t get the project to be outright cancelled, but they can cause it to be ultimately unsuccessful if they don’t commit to putting their time and energy into ensuring that the solution being developed is appropriately used."


"Business Analysts can often be faced with reluctant or even hostile project participants. Sometimes this can be due to lack of sufficient involvement early on, other times it is because they do not see the value in your project. How can you work to overcome these powerful barriers and get your entire stakeholder group to work with the team to successfully implement change?"


The article provides an example in the eduation industry which anchored a project on a story involving one common value, educating the student.


While working on projects, consider stories to anchor the "vision of a solution based on value" to achieve the project.  The stories need to include the "way it is today", and lead up to the "way it can be tomorrow".


Potential stories to consider include:


1. The business needs


2. The project requirements


3. Securing stake holder buy in


Read on for ideas around each of these areas:


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