Data + Design  |  Kiran Sattiraju  |  October 15, 2014

Ending the Era of “Look But Don’t Touch”: Introducing Interactive, Collaborative StoryBoards

We’re very excited to be at the Strata Conference + Hadoop World in New York City this week. Last year we chose this conference to announce our Data Intelligence platform to the world. This year we are unveiling a major new capability that advances data storytelling: ClearStory’s new Interactive, Collaborative StoryBoardsTM powered by Spark. But before I dive into the details of StoryBoards, let me first elaborate on what inspired us to build it.

Today, the ability to bring together a variety of data sources, extract actionable insights and place those in the hands of business users so they can make faster, better informed decisions is the new mandate for businesses worldwide. A survey of 150 Fortune 2000 companies that we conducted last month highlight the key data challenges organizations face:

  • 74% of organizations want to blend data from more than four data sources; the median number of desired sources was seven.
  • 61% spend most of their time wrangling data before they can visually analyze it.
  • 70% want insights to be revealed faster – in days and within a day.
  • When it comes to sharing and collaboration, 76% resort to communication via email attachments and 64% resort to Excel.

These needs drive ClearStory’s advantages, which is centered on three things:

  • Disparate data harmonization on more sources, without tedious data wrangling
  • Fast exploration to uncover new insights without waiting on IT
  • Collaborative analysis to speed decision making

Now we are extending our solution to make it even easier to actively share,  insights with even more business users so they can follow along with the discovery process, ask and answer new questions and clearly see the continuing story unfold in real time.

Up until now, business users have lived in a world where they get static dashboards that are hard-wired to a certain schema, allow for no exploration, and have pre-determined biases built in. Pre-determined biases in reports are killing the opportunity the availability of more data presents. As a result, insights are constantly lost and effective decision-making is impaired by blind spots.

Frontline business users in every organization now want to directly engage with multiple data sources and further explore insights that reach them in interactive ways. ClearStory’s introduction of StoryBoards let them do that, effectively ending what analyst firm Aberdeen calls the “Look but don’t touch” era of data visualization.

Now business users can see a complete situation in an Interactive StoryBoard™ that contains frames of stories and analysis. Each frame has a contextual connection to the next frame, like scenes in a movie. As new data comes in, frames are updated, making these ‘living’ stories so that decisions are not based on stale data or limited sampling and a sub-selection of dimensions.


Rich narratives are supported on each frame and collaborators can participate in active discussions to provide further data and context for each scene. Deep exploration capabilities allow users to quickly switch contexts from consuming live insights to exploring new ones.


It’s been shown that with collaboration and self-service exploration, the speed of decision-making is 40% faster and trust in the data is much greater. StoryBoards are the capability for that to happen. They provide a dedicated place for data sharing, storytelling and collaborative decision-making.

With StoryBoards, we’re taking all of our solution’s capabilities for handling data volume and variety and placing theme directly in the hands of business users and domain experts so they can get relevant, timely, accurate insights. No more emailing screen shots around, no more loss of context that comes with those inefficient ways of communicating and collaborating and most importantly, no more late, faulty insights fraught with blind spots, lack of context and missing information.

Be one of the first to see StoryBoards! Our early customers using it love it! Stop by Booth 425 at the conference this Thursday (10/16) or Friday (10/17), or request a demo online.

Kiran Sattiraju is Director of Product Management for ClearStory Data.