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What is a Sankey Diagram?

Posted by Adrian M.

Article Rating // 306 Views // 0 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: General, Tools


A Sankey Diagram is a type of flow diagram in which the width of the arrows is proportional to the flow rate of a resource, such as energy, materials, or money. These diagrams are used to visualize the distribution, flow, and transfer of resources or quantities in a process or system.

Key features of Sankey diagrams include:

  • Flow Representation - The flows are represented by arrows or bands. The width of each arrow is proportional to the quantity of the flow.
  • Nodes -  These are points where flows converge, split, or change direction. Nodes can represent processes, systems, or states.
  • Flow Direction - The arrows usually flow from left to right, indicating the direction of the flow.
  • Quantitative Visualization - The varying widths of the arrows make it easy to compare the sizes of different flows at a glance.

Sankey diagrams help business analysts make data-driven decisions, optimize processes, and effectively communicate insights:

  • Financial Analysis - Visualize cash flows and budget allocations to identify inefficiencies and cost-saving opportunities.
  • Process Optimization - Map supply chains and operational processes to highlight bottlenecks and waste.
  • Resource Management - Track energy consumption and resource allocation to improve efficiency.
  • Customer Journey Mapping - Illustrate sales and marketing funnels and customer service interactions to pinpoint drop-offs and improvement areas.
  • Project Management - Visualize task and resource allocation, track project progress, and ensure balanced workloads.
  • Risk Management - Assess and prioritize risk mitigation by visualizing potential risks and their impacts.
  • Data Analysis - Display data flows and performance metrics clearly to communicate complex information to stakeholders.

Overall, Sankey diagrams are powerful tools for business analysts to visualize complex processes, identify inefficiencies, make data-driven decisions, and effectively communicate findings to stakeholders.

Example Sankey Diagrams:

Sankey Diagram - Example 1

Source: Wikimedia Commons under GNU Free Doc License


Sankey Diagram - Example 2

Source: Wikimedia Commons CC Share Alike 4.0 License





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Do your homework prior to the business analysis interview!

Having an idea of the type of questions you might be asked during a business analyst interview will not only give you confidence but it will also help you to formulate your thoughts and to be better prepared to answer the interview questions you might get during the interview for a business analyst position.  Of course, just memorizing a list of business analyst interview questions will not make you a great business analyst but it might just help you get that next job.



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