Excel is Not a one Stop Shop for your Data Needs

Excel, not a one stop shop

“There’s nothing inherently wrong with spreadsheets; they’re excellent tools for many different jobs. But data visualization and data communication is not one of them.” – Bernard Marr

We couldn’t agree more with what Bernard is saying in his article, “Why You Must STOP Reporting Data in Excel!” Excel is everywhere and it has proven to be a valuable resource to every company across the globe. The problem is that many companies are using spreadsheets as their main line of communication internally. Excel is great at displaying all of the raw data you could possibly dream of, just ask any Data Analyst, who eats, sleeps and dreams of never-ending spreadsheets. Bernard gets right to the point and lays out the top 4 reasons that spreadsheets are not the right fit for visualizing data and communication within an organization.

Most people don’t like them.

Bernard makes a great point, unless you work with Excel frequently like a data analyst, it has the reputation of being intimidating. Employees will be reluctant to use it, let alone even think about analyzing data from it. If employees are not clerking in Excel all day, they are most likely going to give Excel the cold shoulder when it comes to communicating data.

Important data is hidden.

I think it is safe to agree with Bernard on this. Spreadsheets are not the best visualization tool out there. Most spreadsheets today are full of endless numbers. If users can’t look at the data and quickly decipher valuable vs. non-valuable, that is a problem. There are better visualization tools that paint a clearer picture and allow for effective communication.

Loss of historical data.

Users in Excel are constantly updating the facts and data as necessary. The downfall to that is it essentially erases all historical data. Without historical data there is no clear way to see the trends and patterns. It takes away the ability to make predictions for the future.

It’s difficult to share.

Spreadsheets are not ideal for collaborative data sharing because they allow the risk of having data deleted or changed. The way that data is shared today is by emailing updated spreadsheets. This data is considered stale or dead, it lacks the key component of remaining “live” or in real-time. This way of sharing is not only time consuming but eliminates the opportunity for users to collaborate while never losing connection to the most updated information available.

The great news is, there’s an easy answer to all of the common frustrations of spreadsheets…

PowerOLAP is an example of a product developed with a solution that addresses all of these problems. It allows for real-time collaboration between users, while always remaining “live”. It has the ability to store historical data which allows for accurate analytical predictions to be reported. Take a deeper look into PowerOLAP and see how it can take your organization to the next level.

To read the entire article by Bernard Marr, click here.

 

Human Resources, Making BIG Strides in Business Analytics

Business Analytics

Human Resources is beginning to pull ahead in the Business Analytics world. One thing is certain, if you want to run a successful business, you need to hire the right people to help you get there. Who is in charge of recruiting and hiring your team members? “DING, DING, DING!” you guessed it, Human Resources.  In a “Big Data” world, HR can use “People Data” to their advantage and help businesses develop strategy when it comes to hiring the best candidates. As David Klobucher writes in his article, “Data-driven confidence will help HR professionals identify behaviors and interview styles that attract better employees, as well as qualities that make effective workers – and lead to faster promotions.”

I agree with Klobucher, this is a great time to be in HR. There are big opportunities that may be presented to anyone working in HR. Executives within businesses are looking to their Human Resources department to help build the strategy to success. Of course this all depends on if HR professionals “welcome” the business analytics technology with warm arms. As stated in the article, many individuals working with Human Resources are not completely comfortable using data just yet. In today’s world, Big Data surrounds all of us, but for HR, this can lead to big success from analyzing data of past successes and past failures.

In some HR departments, to take on this scope of technology could be intimidating, however like one of my favorite sayings goes, “I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.”

Read original article here.

Originally posted on October 26, 2015.

Infographic: 6 Business Intelligence Best Practices

Be Mindful to Keep these Practices throughout your Business Intelligence Project

Getting Business Intelligence Best Practices to work well is challenging.  Check out the 6 best practices outlined in this Infographic. Check it out and see how your organization stacks up. It’s easy to think that bigger is better, or assume you need to start from scratch. Actually its about having BI policies in place, keeping everyone on the team involved, having a clear scope, and making sure everyone is trained up well.

It is also important for a Business Intelligence project to have an analytics model that reflects the organization.

How to get the Largest Return from your Big Data

 

Businessman drawing ROI (return on investment) with graphs

Who doesn’t want the largest return on their investment? The article written by Chris Twogood, How To Produce Ongoing Returns With Big Data,  compares current Data and Analytics systems to what he claims is actually needed in today’s businesses.

He writes, and we agree, that Data within companies only continues to grow in volume and variety. Data solutions are developed to handle one issue at a time, which causes data to remain separated and replicated over-and-over again. It’s a prime example of a short term or one-off solution, and it can’t be the best way, right?

Twogood explains, the solution is to implement a sustainable, central data and analytics model that can ensure calculation of vital analyses. Because action and decision begin with the same question…What does the data tell us?

In this article, what stood out to me and truly symbolized what PARIS Tech, the sponsor of OLAP.com, is all about: “To satisfy the individual requests of the organization, an analyst or end user should be able to access data at any time to apply the analytics  available.”

PARIS Tech makes it possible for organizations to share an analytical data model in real-time from different applications. Because, like Twogood says, users need to be able to access data at any time, and even real-time. With this concept front-and-center, organizations can see:

  • A reduction in time to meet new needs
  • Less complexity and cost of infrastructure
  • Higher productivity

Click here to read the full article.

11 of the Best Practices for Business Intelligence

Business Team Brainstorming Data Target Financial Concept

Dennis McCafferty of CIO Insight recently wrote an article that addresses 11 of the top practices of Business Intelligence. With Business Intelligence controlling such key factors in today’s companies such as, analytics, business performance management, text mining and predictive analytics, it is crucially important to understand it. Let’s take a look into CIO Insight’s 11 best practices and see if you are already taking advantage of these.

  1.  Bigger Isn’t Always Better: Just because a solution can gather a large amount of data doesn’t mean that they are helping you get the most out of the data. McCafferty thinks that trustworthiness and immediacy are the key elements.
  2. Deliverable Value Over TCO: When your BI solution can deliver specific ROI, you will gain higher buy-in no matter the initial total cost of ownership.
  3. Take Stock of Current Resources: Taking advantage and leveraging the IT that your company already owns to support your BI solution is a top practice. You can then utilize that spending on something else that will make a larger impact.
  4. File-Formatting Resources: Since Business Intelligence uses more than 300 file formats, it is important that you are prepared and ready to use any one of them.
  5. Create BI Policies for Deployment: It is important to have BI policies in place such as how the data is collected, processed and stored. This will ensure higher level of relevance and accessibility.
  6. Go Team, Involve Business Leaders From the Outset: You need to remain on the same page as all of the different leaders and work as a big team to keep IT on the right path.
  7. The Only Constant? Change: Every thing is constantly changing and evolving so this will continue to test your BI deployment at all times.
  8. Limit Initial User Participation: It is better to start out slow and steady when introducing initial users. If not, it can lead to confusion, errors and confusion which will impact BI’s final impact.
  9. Define the Project’s Scope: A BI implementation should be taken in stages and a company must know how many users and functions will be needed over time.
  10. Training Day: In order for your BI project to be a success, you must take the right approach to training employees and make sure that they are properly educated and feel comfortable using the new solution.
  11. Support Self Service: The goal of BI is to pass along the project to the appropriate department. In order to do this you must support the training plans and keep this practice as a priority at all times.

 

Click here to read the original article.