Data Storytelling : Enough from me. Let’s talk to Data dealers ! Part 1 of 5

This blog is the first of my blog series on Data Storytelling from Data Dealers.

Who are Data Dealers?

People whose job day in and out is to work with data. I have coined a term for these people, Data Dealers because no one really knows better then them what it is to deal with overwhelming data and how best to make sense of it.

So, enough from me, lets hear it from a Data dealer

Question: Tell us about a time when you have achieved a positive outcome due to effective data storytelling? 

Recently, we had the privilege of working for a reputed Logistics Services Provider in ASEAN Region. This engagement required our team to resolve software application issues that were reported by the Client Team. It is an industry norm to govern these types of support contracts with resolution time or in other words SLAs (Service Level Agreement), which are  mutually agreed upfront. These SLAs come in handy to review vendor performance on a periodic basis.

As the Client Account Manager, I was responsible to steer this review meeting on the first Wednesday of every month with the Client Team.

A few months into the contract, on a Monday, we reviewed the issue log, the bar graphs indicated that our resolution time increased from 1 business day to 2 business days for two consecutive weeks. The agreed SLA was 1 business day for such issues. This meant potential contract foreclosure and also a bad reputation for us.

My team immediately looked into it and pointed out that in those two weeks, most of the issues were reported on Friday evening just before close of business, which were resolved on the following Monday, (our contract did not include support on weekends). My Project Manager felt highlighting this would save our face and fate of our contract in front of the Client Management Team.

While this seemed a great defence, I was curious to know why were the issues being reported on Fridays evenings. We took an offline discussion with the Client Team for 10 minutes, which gave me two valuable insights:

Storytelling SingaporeThe Client Team had been multi-tasking in those weeks on another priority Management initiative which involved integrating a few business applications, this kept them completely occupied on weekdays.

Storytelling SingaporeThe Client team did not have enough hands-on experience on such projects, so they had to read on the internet & read manuals to complete this project within the ambitious deadline set by the Management.

This discussion helped us uncover the “Why”.

Our project team had the right expertise & Skills to support this Project. So on the review day, I pulled up the Slide on SLAs and highlighted in two bullet points the fact of the client team being overworked and the fact that same Project Team had proven capabilities to support them in their Integration work. The Client Project Head took this up positively decided to take advantage of Integration expertise, which meant the Client Project Team now could peacefully focus on our Original Contract as well, helping us to get the SLAs back on track.

So we walked in with a threat to our current Engagement and walked out by being a “Client Advisor” and an additional Order 

So, what is the key take away ?

Your job as a data expert only begins when you find a pattern or trend or anomaly. An important step is to question the finding and find out why things are the way they are

Once you know the what and why, ask how best to use the finding for a desired outcome.

“Data is useless until we understand what it means and can clearly communicate that meaning to those who need it, those whose decisions affect our world” – Stephen Phew 

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"I attended your story telling course some time back. And I've enjoyed keeping up my knowledge with your blog. You may not have realised however, that the Whole of Government is implementing Internet Seperation. Hence I'm not able to access the links to read your articles. Could I suggest including a QR code in your emails so that I can use my mobile to scan it and gain immediate access to the article? It would be most helpful"