Wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year of Analytics!

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Accurate, consistent and timely information is the corner stone of smarter and more efficient decisions.  We all know that business analytics solution can turn our data into success.  However, not everyone has an enterprise grade business analytics like Business Objects, Cognos or SAS.  I like to share with you how Microsoft Excel, a powerful desktop analytics solution can also serve the same purpose if we can fully utilize its potential. 

Excel comes with many hidden gifts:

Explore

Today, we have a lot of data, may be too much; and they are scattered across many different systems.  In order to find the information in a timely basis, we need a central data storage and an effective tool to explore our dataset.  Microsoft PowerPivot is an in memory OLAP solution that is tightly integrated with Excel.  So we are going to navigate our data in a familiar environment and we would use the same Excel tools for analysis e.g. PivotTable, PivotChart, and Slicer.  PowerPivot allows us to build OLAP cube that can store multi millions of records from all our systems.  Everything is done in memory, so the performance is lighting fast!

Optimize

Every organization needs to effectively optimize their resources and mitigate risks.  We all want to maximize outputs and minimize risks.  So we use Solver / Microsoft Solver Foundation (MSF) to optimize our decisions, based on good quantitative models.  If we have to make decisions that involve uncertainty, we can also use MSF to develop Monte Carlo simulation model to understand the impact of risk, and find ways to mitigate threat.

Predict

Should a loan be approved for a particular customer?  What will be the sales amount this Christmas?  Is this insurance claim a fraudulent?  We wish there is a crystal ball when we make decisions.  Analysis ToolPak and other commercial data mining add-ins can provides us a solid foundation to identify value drivers and confidently predict business results.

Visualize

"A picture is worth a thousand words."  It is especially true for senior management who has often drowned in the ocean of data.  Data visualization can consolidate all critical business information on a single dashboard which gives the managers a more accurate and effective view of their organization.  Excel can produce high quality dashboard; especially with the new introduction of Sparklines.

Most of us are using Excel but not all of us know how to use Excel to turn our data into accurate, consistent and timely information.  If you want to make smarter and more efficient decisions than your competitors, then you need a solid business analytics platform and Excel is a cost effective analytics solution that energize your business in 2011.

 

Andrew Chan is the owner and founder of ALG Inc.

We help you to make better and faster decisions!

About Andrew Chan
Andrew Chan is an Business Consultant who gives you accurate, consistent and timely information so that you can make better and faster decisions. He is an Associate of Society of Actuaries with over 20 years of IT experience. Apart from strong analytical skills and proven technical background, he was also a former system director at Manulife who had extensive project management experience. If you are looking for someone to gather, consolidate, validate, visualize and analyze data, look no further! Andrew can provide the most cost effective business analytics solution so that you can explore, optimize, predict and visualize your business. Don’t guess on any decision, no matter it is finance, operation, marketing or sales! Always ask for evidence!

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