Article

Nikhil Goyal
Nikhil Goyal 24 October 2014
Categories Data & Analytics

Practical Tips For Working On A Data-Driven Report

How can you tell a story using data?

As a data analyst, one is constantly talking to an audience that is short on time, does not like complexity and prefers opening up for Q&A half way through the cover slide! My experience working with fragmented and large data sets have taught me a few things:

 

Give some thought to how the data should be extracted: You cannot build an insightful visualization unless you have the data behind it in the right shape. Whenever possible, extract the data in the format closest to the desired format for analysis. A simple arrangement of rows and columns during extraction can often save much time and heart-burn in reshaping / cleaning the data to a form suitable for graphing. In certain cases, the front end of the data warehouse may not have enough flexibility for extracting data – in such cases, try to get access to the location where the data actually lives behind the front end- chances are it will be an SQL / db2 database. You will discover a treasure trove of information which hides behind the mask. (Beware: getting access might be a long term battle – not one to be fought with a deadline lurking around the corner.)

 

Marry the agenda with the data-preparation: Analysts are often torn between two choices (a) drilling down deeper and deeper or (b) sticking to a script and timelines. There are obvious merits and traps in both approaches and therefore finding a balance is important. To achieve this balance, even before starting the data cleaning, I design a flexible agenda for the report with branches / sub points. After this, I map each section of the agenda to the exact format in which I need the data to perform the analysis. This makes the data cleaning process more focused and efficient. For e.g. the overview section of the agenda may require data on an hourly level time-series across 6 metrics.

 

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

What's the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter? The answers may surprise you.

Julie Cave
Julie Cave 14 July 2016
Read more
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 5 November 2014
Read more
How To Write Content That’s Easy To Localize

How To Write Content That’s Easy To Localize

Do you want to know how to reduce costs and get to market faster? Write content that's easy to localize!

David Ost
David Ost 15 June 2017
Read more
How To Master Localized SEO

How To Master Localized SEO

When you’re rolling out different language versions of your website, ignore localized SEO at your peril. Failing to consider local keywords, backlinks and social media could cost you valuable site visitors. You’re investing a lot of marketing budget in reaching out to new clients. But fail to get eyes on your website and your efforts will be in vain.

David Ost
David Ost 14 June 2017
Read more
The Top 10 High Demand Business Languages

The Top 10 High Demand Business Languages

We’ve compiled a handy list of the top 10 languages you should consider for business and marketing content translation when competing in global markets, with the facts and figures on why they are your best bet.

Inês Arnaut Pimentel
Inês Arnaut Pimentel 3 February 2017
Read more