Make big data findings ‘human’, SM webinar hears

Paul Snell is managing editor at Supply Management
30 September 2015

Buyers should remember to incorporate the “human element” when presenting the insights gleaned from big data to stakeholders, a Supply Management webinar was told.

According to consultant Juliet Frost: “The key thing in storytelling is to try to bring the human element into it when you are doing a narrative, and think about ways you can make it more personal.

“For instance, if you are presenting data on the success of a supplier relationship management programme, you could narrate your presentation about how it has developed over time and, maybe include some anecdotes from individual stakeholders which might highlight an aspect of the programme you want noted.”

Lynne Taylor, UK marketing and communications manager at webinar sponsor AirPlus International, said purchasers should aim to make their data visual. "Use dashboards to tell a story," she said, rather then just presenting charts or spreadsheets to make it more accessible.

And Frost added people are more likely to remember a visualization if it is interactive, allowing them to drill down into the data or filter it for example, because they engage more with it that way.

Management consultant Andy Murray, who used big data in his previous role as head of supply chain at Dixons Carphone to improve store efficiency, added the way insights are presented should be tailored to the audience.

“The key thing is how you tell the story and how it resonates with the particular person. So for example, how do you tell the story to the buying team? How do you articulate the insights from the retail operations team and how does that inform the buyers?

“The big thing in terms of engaging stakeholders, is how do we influence stakeholders to make the step change, and then whichever medium is relevant to effect that change, that is my recommendation.”

Taylor added buyers should: “Be prepared for the data to tell a different story than the one you would expect."

A straw poll conducted as part of the webinar, 'do you use big data as part of your procurement operation?', found almost three quarters (72 per cent) do not as yet. Speakers said this was unsurprising since it is still a fairly new approach.

A replay of the webinar, How big data can contribute to the bottom line, is available by clicking here

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