Friday, August 12, 2005

Business Intelligence Presentation
by a Master - Seth Stohs Does It Again  

I try never to repeat myself myself. But this was a choice enough example that I wanted to point out something quite similar to something I pointed out previously: a very cool analyst's presentation style for communicating numeric information in a sequence & order that supercharges the reader's possibilities for understanding.

Too often, analysts collect a tonne of data and just dump it on a reader. It's the analyst's job not only to analyze, but then to present that analysis in a way that (a) the listener/reader understands what point the analyst is trying to make, but also (b) that what's delivered is structured in a way that the reader can use it as a foundation from which to develop her own thoughts, ideas, concepts and deliverables. Eighty-five percent of analysts achieve neither. Ten percent achieve (a), and only 5% nail both (a) and (b).

Seth Stohs, author of a Minnesota Twins-focused site, got into this weblog last season with a brilliant dissection of a Johan Santana performance. His insights were valuable, but what really made it most useful as an MBB lesson was the sequence he took (from simplest through a series of drill-down tables) to present the data he'd collected.

Just this week, he recreated the dissection/analysis model with a business analyst's presentation of Félix Hernández' second major league start, an incredibly-pitched game by both the young Mariner phenom and his antagonist, the Twins' Kyle Lohse. Go to this link and then scroll down to "Analysis of a Phenom".

I won't walk through the analysis, but I strongly recommend it as both enlightning about Hernández and how to present numerically-rich data to an audience that has varying levels of aptitude for (and interest in) metrics and measures. He starts at the most basic level, and like a Euclidean theorem, builds on what he's already presented to make the traverse through dense data seem fluid and makes learning as effortless as it will ever get. He takes a reader not only to understand where there was success, but what factors made that success possible -- in knowledge management terms, he's creating actionable knowledge, something the rest of an organization can apply to recreate it.

I wish I could read a Stohs report like this every single day. I hate to repeat myself, but this piece of work is just too fine an example of how to deliver actionable knowledge...I just had to bring it to your attention. Try his approach yourself on an old presentation that didn't deliver as well as you'd hoped. Thank you Seth Stohs. And dude, please keep at it.

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