The 2012 Election and the Importance of Effectively Communicating Data-Driven Insights

November 8, 2012 Paul M. Davis

2012_electionThe big winner – or at least the biggest story – of the 2012 Election may be Big Data and the practice of data science. From the Obama campaign’s data-driven electioneering directed by Chief Scientist Rayid Ghani, to the pundit-confounding and uncannily accurate projections of Nate Silver and other statisticians, this may go down as “The Nerdiest Election Ever,” as Wired‘s Spencer Ackerman declared. Of course, most of the general populace lack the skills to make sense of the data or probabilities, which is why data visualization also played a key role in telling the story of the 2012 Presidential Election.

In a post for Forbes, Rani Goel, Senior Director of Analytics at SAP, urges enterprises and practitioners to think beyond mere Big Data collection and analysis. Equally important is prioritizing how those torrents of information will be communicated to non-technical stakeholders and the wider populace. Goel writes:

…Unless a decision maker can access and analyze this data effectively, it isn’t worth much. If you are serious about managing big data, it’s time to truly visualize it to become a better decision-maker.

According to Aberdeen Group, 65 percent of business decision makers face a shrinking “decision window.” So if a “picture is worth a thousand words,” then why not make data discovery visual for business users so they can easily analyze and assimilate information?

As business, elections, cities, and society are increasingly shaped by Big Data and predictive analytics, it grows increasingly crucial to effectively communicate the key insights to be found within all that information – and the projections and decisions it drives. Greenplum’s recent partnership with Tableau to connect the company’s visual data analysis application with Greenplum Chorus, the open source collaborative data science platform, is a timely move to empower enterprises and organizations to effectively communicate the information, insights, and predictions gleaned from their massive datasets.

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