In recent years, big data has become a buzz word for them who are relying on digital technologies as it allows storage and analysis of massive data. Here, big data includes both structured and unstructured data sets which require processing capabilities of modern tools. One of the most popular tools to handle big data is Advanced Excel and its relevant add-ons (Rose, Spinks, & Canhoto, 2015).
There have been many studies on this topic which show that big data analytics has helped in evolution of the concept of Business Intelligence (BI). In the beginning it focused on creating self service delivery model through the use of MS Excel and SQL. Furthermore, the procedure of data cleansing and importing data to another analytical software is initiated using MS Excel.
Data cleansing steps
One can use Advanced excel for different purposes while analyzing a large set of data. Some of the most used tools of Advanced Excel in big data analytics are highlighted below.
VBA macros or pivot tables
Studies have shown that pivot tables in MS Excel are interactive and powerful features to summarize, analyze and display patterns and trends for big size data. In particular, the pivot table provides a subtotal and aggregate numeric data through filtering presenting a concise report on the subsets of context-relevant data (Centre for Learning and Academic Development, 2012). This reporting tool allows users to make quick decisions which is a big advantage in the business world. An important feature of pivot tables is that it reorganizes and displays data on the basis of the end results. This means that table adjusts accordingly to the variables added or subtracted in the data (Technology Training Center, 2016). Moreover, they sort and adjust formulas and chart as per the new data based on names and important information.
Visualization through Mapping Tools
Advanced Excel also allows graphical representation through a 3-Dimensional (3D) visualization tool, namely Microsoft Power Map, a powerful method to understand information diagrammatically. This Power Map allows plotting of more than a million rows of data from an Excel worksheet table and provide insights into data changes over time (Los Angeles County Enterprise GIS, 2013). In addition, a tool known as the Map 3-Ds help in simulating relevant excavations from the data while enhancing visualization of the report through graphical representations (Ang, 2013). Geo-data functionality in Advanced Excel shows the trends in geographic regions sharing valuable details to entice more clients.
Report making using advanced excel
There are many other advantages of using advanced version Microsoft Excel. More specifically, it allows creation of an interactive spreadsheet by creating text labels for each of the column in the dataset. Additionally, daily or monthly forecasting reports keeps the organization informed about the business dynamics within a limited data frame (ConvergeSol, 2013). Excel-based dashboard reporting has made it possible for the companies in navigating and comparing data from several sources (Alexander & Walkenbach, 2010).
Lesser time than basic version
In short, the development of new templates, different design works, quick analysis in one click, use of slicers in filtering table data and saving excel files online have made it possible for people to share their worksheets with others (Addinsoft, 2014). Thus, advanced excel is effective for statistical analysis and for a good overview of the relationship between different variables.
Integration with other Softwares
It is important to note that a major feature that makes the extended version of Microsoft Excel attractive is that it blends easily with different softwares. Exporting external data files using different analytical software such as R, SPSS, SAS and others helps in analyzing the data effectively without copying and pasting, thus reducing the errors (Lo, 2013).
It is has been reported that many companies have been able to curb data loss and pin important knowledge to dashboards using Business Intelligence with data and data tools available in Microsoft Office, (Schwartz, 2016). Thus, according to a recent report by EY (2014), the continuous generation of big data has resulted in a fundamental difference between the organizations investing in tools to analyze huge dataset and gain technical capacity in understanding customer perspective. Digging into analytical ability of the software has also significantly increased the demand for business analysts, data scientists and others to lead the big data revolution. Thus, in the near future impact of using extended versions of MS Excel cannot be ruled out.
- Addinsoft. (2014). Getting started manual XLStat. Retrieved from https://www.xlstat.com/uploads/video/getting-start/xlstat-getting-start-manual.pdf.
- Alexander, M., & Walkenbach, J. (2010). Excel Dashboards & Reports. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118257500.
- Ang, V. (2013). EXCEL for Data Analysis & Reporting. Retrieved from http://impresstraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Excel-v2013.pdf.
- Centre for Learning and Academic Development. (2012). MS Excel : Analysing Data using Pivot Tables. Ubniversity of Birmingham. Retrieved from https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/libraryservices/library/skills/digitaltechnologyskills/documents/public/excel4.pdf.
- ConvergeSol. (2013). Insights : Excel Automation in Financial Services.(2014).
- Big data Changing the way businesses. Science and Technology (Vol. 16). https://doi.org/10.5013/IJSSST.a.16.5B.22
- Lo, P. (2013). 1 . Integrating Excel with Other Applications. Retrieved from Powerpoint Presentation
- Los Angeles County Enterprise GIS. (2013). Microsoft Power Map Preview for Excel Getting Started.
- Rose, S., Spinks, N., & Canhoto, A. I. (2015). An introduction to using Microsoft Excel for quantitative data analysis, 1–16.
- Schwartz, E. (2016). Business Analytics in Excel 2016. Retrieved from https://community.powerbi.com/oxcrx34285/attachments/oxcrx34285/data_insights_summit_on_demand/9/1/BRE006_Schwartz.pdf.
- Technology Training Center. (2016). Excel 2016 Tables & PivotTables. Retrieved from https://wsnet2.colostate.edu/cwis6/ttcpdf/how_to/Excel2016/PivotTables.pdf.