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The analytical process does not end with models than can predict with accuracy or prescribe the best solution to business problems. Developing these models and gaining insights from data do not necessarily lead to successful implementations. This depends on the ability to communicate results to those who make decisions. Presenting findings to decision makers who are not familiar with the language of analytics presents a challenge. In this course you will learn how to communicate analytics results to stakeholders who do not understand the details of analytics but want evidence of analysis and data. You will be able to choose the right vehicles to present quantitative information, including those based on principles of data visualization. You will also learn how to develop and deliver data-analytics stories that provide context, insight, and interpretation.
Introduction to the Course
-In this module we’ll briefly review the Information-Action Value Chain we introduced in Course 1. Then we’ll see how analytical techniques are applied in business problems, first by looking at some “classic” business problems that have been around for a long time, then by looking at some “emergent” business problems that have resulted from more recent advances in technology.
Best Practices in Data Visualization
-In this module we’ll learn about a variety of visualizations used to illustrate and communicate data. We will start with the different vehicles used to present quantitative information. We will then look at a set of examples of data visualizations and discuss what makes them effective or ineffective. Finally, we discuss Excel charts and why most of them should be avoided. After completing this module, you will be able to better understand the characteristics of good data visualization and avoid common mistakes when creating your own graphs.
Interpreting, Telling, and Selling
-In this module we’ll cover a number of topics around interpreting data, gathering additional data, and pitching our recommendations based on our analysis. First, we’ll discuss ways in which we misinterpret or misrepresent data and how to avoid them, such as mistaking correlation with causation, allowing cognitive biases to influence how we see data, and visualizing data in misleading ways. We’ll also learn how experimentation can help us obtain more data, including compromises we may need to make in measurement. Finally, we’ll discuss how we communicate our results and recommendations, with a focus on knowing our audience, telling compelling stories, and creating clear and effective communication materials.
Acting on Data
-In our final module we’ll walk through two case studies and illustrate the ideas we’ve covered in the course and in the specialization as a whole. The first case shows how experimentation can be used to create data, sometimes with surprising results. The second case presents a comprehensive analysis that illustrates the entire analytic lifecycle, and shows how different methods and both quantitative and qualitative analysis can be brought together to solve one strategically important analytical problem.
Manuel Laguna, Dan Zhang and David Torgerson