Getting stuck with having to learn new software for complex problems affects all of us. But have you ever wondered if a tool you’re already comfortable with could have helped you out? Yes, I’m referring to Excel. Knowing the possibilities of Excel can significantly alter the way we work.
Our in-house experts have gathered here to detail how Excel has evolved over time. They also discuss the range of problems that Excel has the capability to solve.
Changes in the Business Intelligence market
Excel is being increasingly used to solve business problems of various kinds. It’s so pervasive that an entire market for reporting tools and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems that are integrated with Office products exists. Such integration allows for faster analysis of data and easier problem solving. For example, sliding in thousands of rows of company data from the ERP system into Excel and using Pivot tables to summarize it.
Visualization of data is trending upwards at a very fast pace. And one of the tools of immense utility in this arena is Microsoft Power BI. It has brought in tools such as Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View and Power Map which let you do almost everything. This includes the following:
- Connecting to an online, corporate data source
- Visualizing data by creating analytical views and reports
- Creating complicated Data Models directly in Excel
There are many other tools that Power BI has brought with it that allow for sharing of reports, natural language usage in exploration of data and cloud services.
Another interesting ability that exists in Excel 2007 and above is that it allows easy creation of custom toolbars. These toolbars allow companies to save costs in buying expensive software to do things which Excel can do as well.
Solving big problems
Tools such as PowerPivot and Power Query now allow for analysis of tens of millions of rows of data in Excel. Also, some versions of Solver are capable of handling problems with as many as 2.4 million decision variables. These achievements are the onset of a new era where varying, complex organizational problems can now be solved with a single, inexpensive tool!
The hype around Big Data does have a substance. And plans are there to bring Big Data to Excel for sampling and summarization.
Play with the data! Play with the data! Play with the data!
There is nothing lost with going about the data to understand it better or to find patterns in it. But there is always a possibility that you will gain an invaluable insight that should help greatly with the problem you are tasked to do.
Share with us what you have conquered with Excel
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