We all know people who ramble on during business presentations without getting to the main point. Sure, it’s easy to tell yourself not to be that person. But the staggering amount of data out there provides so many stories to tell–and you want to tell them all. Data visualization can help.

But first, to be a good storyteller, you need to interpret the data in a way that builds the most relevant story. In other words, ask yourself what’s the fundamental message of the data set?

The answer to that question sets the trajectory for how you should best present your data. To help identify the core message, always ask yourself these additional pertinent questions:

  • What essential message about the data is absolutely critical and cannot be left out?
  • If I had to summarize one overarching message from the data, what would it be?
  • What is my objective in sharing the data?
  • What is my end goal?
  • What action do I want the audience to take?

In order to answer these questions correctly, it’s important to model your data appropriately before you explore it.

Enter SAP BusinessObjects Lumira, a self-service data visualization application for business users. SAP BusinessObjects Lumira allows you to analyze numerical data from several types of dimensions. Analysts who use the tool can freely alter data structures and correlations.

However, before you can begin to create stunning data visualizations, you need to make sense of the data in a way that will speak to your audience. This can only be done once you nail down the singular message that you wish to share. Once you identify your story, you can use the data to illuminate the narrative and make it truly unforgettable.

After all, data visualization tools and apps are only a map to help take you where you want to go—but you first need to set your destination.

For more information on why data visualization is critical for your business, download the Data Storytelling Handbook.

Blog originally published on the SAP Digital.