5 Easy Ways to Tell Better Stories with Data
When you’re using SAP Analytics Cloud for analysis, your data will go through two steps. The first step is modeling, this is when you take your raw data and define its structure to create a model. The next step is to use your models to create data-driven stories that will help you find meaningful insights and make better decisions.
A story is made up of pages that are full of visualizations like charts, maps, and tables. The visualizations in a story are based on the measures and dimensions contained in your models, and are used for analysis, planning, and reporting.
So where does your story begin? Whether you’re writing a first draft or cooking a new dish, getting started is usually the hardest part. To help you on your way, here are five ways create better data-driven stories with SAP Analytics Cloud.
1. Try a template
SAP Analytics Cloud is a powerful and robust tool with a lot of capabilities, which is great for advanced users but may be overwhelming for newcomers. It’s like trying to order ice cream when there are over 100 flavors.
So where do you start? Whether you’re new to business intelligence, or a seasoned pro, it never hurts to get a leg up. If you’re struggling with where to start when crafting your story, consider using a layout template.
Layouts have pre-positioned tiles for your charts, maps, and other information. Plus, you can choose the layout that best fits the goal of the particular page you’re working on within your story.
2. Infuse your brand
Have you ever received an email that you thought was spam but it turned out to be from your own company? Brand inconsistency like this can lead to confusion. It might even make you question the legitimacy of the information you’re receiving.
You’ll gain credibility if your story seamlessly fits in with your organization’s branding. And it’s an easy way to make your story look more professional.
Here are some easy ways to incorporate your brand in SAP Analytics Cloud:
- Add your company logo: Inserting an image with SAP Analytics Cloud is simple, give it a try with your logo.
- Set up a custom color palette: If you want your charts to reflect your brand, consider creating a custom color palette. After defining your palette you can apply it to your charts.
- Color code your dimensions: Assigning colors is a useful way to color code a product line, location, or any other dimension in your model. Assigned colors are reflected any time the dimension appears in an applicable chart type.
3. Maintain consistency
The process of creating a story is often collaborative, but no matter how many people are contributing to a story it should look cohesive. An easy way to ensure consistency throughout your story is to start by setting up your Story Preferences.
In Story Preferences, you can customize various options such as page size, fonts, and colors. For example, add your custom color palette as the default for your story. If you tend to print your work, set your default page size to the paper size of your choice.
When things change, it’s easy to update your preferences. To update your entire story select apply to: ‘all pages and tiles’.
4. Line things up
An easy way to increase readability of the charts in your stories is to line up your axis lines. Simply drag the axis you want to change and then line it up with another axis. A reference line will appear to guide you. When you’ve reached alignment, drop the axis line to update your chart.
It’s a simple change, but when the axis lines match up your story instantly becomes more pleasing to the eye.
5. Guide your audience
Have you ever tried to navigate new places without a map? You might ask someone for directions, but verbal directions can be hard to follow. Getting where you’re going without proper directions can be time-consuming and frustrating.
Your audience may face the same frustration in your stories. As the creator, you know why each chart and visualization exists on the page. But your audience may not be able to interpret your story without some direction.
Here are some ways to add guidance to your data-driven stories:
- Create new pages for each activity
- Use meaningful titles for pages and charts
- Add dynamic text to clarify your point or add more information
These guidance techniques are illustrated on the sample page below. It’s part of the sample story included in your free 30-day trial of SAP Analytics Cloud.
Create data-driven stories with SAP Analytics Cloud
A story that is easy to understand empowers readers to gain insights quickly. A well-designed story cuts down the need to ask for clarification and empowers your audience to interact directly with data. Get started today with a free 30-day trial.