Why a Narrative is just as important
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8 April 2019 - 15:30, by , in Data, No comments

We deal with terabytes of data each week; we see the power of this data unleashed in multiple clients and how it is empowering various functions to make smarter, quicker and better decisions to solve IT, Security and business challenges big and small.

But, there is something that can just as, or even, more powerful than the data itself…. and that’s the narrative.

Sometimes we can get too bogged down in information overload; creating 20+ panel dashboards, or multiple interpretations of the data without a cohesive narrative to tie it altogether. All it needs is a simple message to create an understanding in others.

For all the data and insight systems like Splunk can give us, humans are still- by nature- irrational in how we approach challenges. We would rather listen to an engaging story than less-interesting facts. A simple message is more readily accepted than a thesis spelling it out intricate detail.

What this leaves us with is an interesting conundrum; how do you turn these big data platforms into the fountain of knowledge that can tell these stories that our colleagues and users will drink up? Designing a narrative can be tricky but also a responsibility. Too often we see simple ideas twisted and warped to suit an agenda; told as a simple story and accepted as fact when the truth is it has no basis in reality.

Using this data lake and being empowered gives us a responsibility and trust that we “bubble up” the truth to present fact in an understandable narrative; creating impactful data visualisation and dashboards that just spell it out as it is.

While not Splunk related, we can apply these grand concepts to data from any part of life- even our entertainment. One of my guilty pleasures is movies, and I’m a proper movie geek who loves the facts and figures behind the box office. Dan Murrell at Screen Junkies presented a great video a few weeks back about how the narrative around Captain Marvel was presenting a false story of how the film “failed” and how “it flopped” by using skewed data with a semi-convincing narrative, but without a proper context or perspective.

Dan took the time to go through the data and fact check these stories that were being taken as truth to spell our what the figures were actually telling us about Captain Marvel at the box office.

While we are using a reference about movie news, the same concepts can be applied to data in our organisations every day. Are we presenting the data in a simple but factual light? Are we ensuring data is not being misused to present a false picture that could lead to the wrong decisions being made? Are we being open with the data and allowing others to utilise our Splunk environments to benefit the whole?

This is something we are really passionate about at 13Fields; helping businesses build strong, value driven use cases from their Splunk and SIEM platform to ensure the business is best equipped with the facts in a narrative everyone can understand and get behind that we know is the truth, with context and perspective.

We’d love to hear more about how you’ve solved this challenge already in your business, or to discuss how we could help achieve impactful visualisations and stories in your business; just get in touch!

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