Story-boarding for Business Analytics Projects – tell a logical business story

I follow the DCOVA process for projects in analytics. DCOVA is an acronym for define, collect, organise, visualize and analyse .This sequence allows me to structure and focus on all aspects of the project. It also allows me to build a story board – which is the “in thing” in management circles now.

(Note :- Want to know more about DCOVA? Look up the book Basic Business Statistics, 12th Edition by Mark L. Berenson, Monclair State University; David M. Levine, Baruch College, City University; Timothy C. Krehbiel, Miami University, Ohio)

What is a storyboard? It is a tool used in the movie industry which has been adopted in a big way by senior management in the business world. It refers to a series of frames or pictorial representation of the story, which is done to give everyone a clear view of the gist of the story and the flow of the movie, before the movie is shot. It also gives everyone a clear idea of how each character is expected to look and behave BEFORE the start of the expensive movie shooting process. It forms the basis of brainstorming and discussion to make changes in the concepts in advance .

Movie - Jaws- Steven Spielberg (director), Joe Alves (artist)
Movie – Jaws- Steven Spielberg (director), Joe Alves (artist)

In the business world, it is often a power point presentation which is put together to give out a special message thru the sequence of slides. There is a definite beginning, middle and an end (conclusion). Graphs and charts are used to give a clear idea of the ‘story’ thru visualization.

Using the DCOVA process we have a
• beginning of defining the business problem and the business impact of the problem,
• a middle of collecting, organising and visualising and
• the end of the final analysis and insight that we generate.

The DCOVA process covers everything, from understanding the business problem and describing it in quantitative measures, collating and cleaning the data, massaging, transforming the data, describing the business “y” in data context thru graphs and charts, identifying possible statistical technique/s to finally performing the statistical procedure. The last activity is the process of interpreting the outcome. This is a tricky juncture in the project because now we need to generate insights and recommend a relevant solution in business friendly language (sans terminologies like confidence intervals, errors, R square etc.).

Recommending a solution may well prove to be a juncture of great happiness, if the analysis is conclusive and significant. Or this may be a juncture of ‘my efforts were largely wasted’ in case the analysis proves to be inconclusive or insignificant.

Why do I call it ‘my efforts were largely wasted’ Instead of ‘my efforts were completely wasted “? Because there are always insights and take-a-ways which can be used by the business to
1. Improve the data entry and accumulation process
2. Estimate the time by which data maturity will ensure that conclusive analysis can be expected
3. Understand the quality of data that the business has access to

In case the analysis looks conclusive and significant, it is an obvious triumph.
It becomes important to look at
• What to convey to the client as the insight
o Primary insights- the main take-away and actionable item
o Secondary insights – insights which emerge and can be used by business over and above the primary insights
• How do you relate the insight to the business problem: – There is always a trade- off that we have to contend with. This is the time to put down the pros and cons of the insights we have generated?
• What are the possible solutions
o The most feasible line of action
o The other options
As you will understand from the previous paragraph, this ‘insight generation’ stage is the point where there can be lengthy discussion with business. This is also the stage where ways to implement the insight in the business and IT systems will be discussed.

I will be publishing some examples in the coming posts.

Note :- To know more , feel free to contact me at / call me at 9731107798



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