The DataHero Blog

Batman + Robin: DataHero + Excel

October 16th, 2015

According a survey from the Economic Intelligence Unit, only 3% of respondents describe their companies as “experts” in using business data to drive better decisions, and only 27% agree that their company makes better, faster business decisions than their main competitors. Excel has its strengths, which we’ve outlined in the video here. Here are some quick tips and tricks there to help you step up your Excel game.

Excel’s Strengths:

  • Organizing numeric text or data
  • Calculations and data manipulation
  • Exporting data from services or a database

Where Excel struggles:

  • Dashboard building
  • Updates and multiple revisions
  • Usability
  • Maps

Like any great superhero pair, DataHero’s strengths complement Excel’s weaknesses. That means business users need to leverage the competencies of each to make faster decisions from their data.

Dashboard Building and Data Visualization

While Excel is great for calculations and some statistics, it falls short in data visualization, and dashboards as a result. Data visualization allows you to see trends and identify outliers that you would otherwise miss simply staring at a spreadsheet. The charting process is labor intensive and time consuming in Excel, and the finished product (your dashboard) rarely looks the way you envisioned it. DataHero allows you to create charts, filter, and segment all in a few drag and drop motions. You can also explore data iteratively, to allow you to answer questions as they come up, in real time. Data visualization best practices are already built in, so there’s no need to worry about whether you’re choosing the right chart for your data, or whether your color palette represents your data accurately.

Excel Dashboard vs. DataHero Dashboard

Updates and multiple revisions

Related to the cumbersome dashboard-building process in Excel is the need to continually recreate the same dashboards because of updated data. If each person in an organization is doing their analysis on a local version of their data, which may be out of date, or a different version than what colleagues see. Once a dashboard has been created from this questionable data, it would need to be mailed out to the relevant people. This is an onerous way collect, visualize, and share data. It’s far easier to have one version that everyone has access to, create a shared dashboard, and schedule that dashboard to stay automatically updated as the data within the connected service changes. Set up dashboards once, then leave the tedious task of updating it to a BI solution. The days that would normally be spent trying to identify problems within a business can now be spent actually solving those problems, or determining ways to avoid those problems in the future.

 

Usability

More than 75 percent of the executive surveyed from the Economic Intelligence Unit said it is somewhat or very difficult to recruit and retain effective data analysts. Organizations need to maximize the data scientists they do have, and empower other business users to collect, interpret and share their own data, rather than going through the database and the data scientists. Excel is not the most user friendly tool. Creating an example chart in Excel takes about 3 minutes (thanks to laborious pivot tables). That exact same chart in DataHero takes about 30 seconds. Check it out here. On the subject of pivot tables, you could watch this 12 minute video on how to create one, or you could upload your Excel data into DataHero and have those pivot tables automatically created for you.  

 

Map Creation

Excel requires a plugin, PowerMap,  that comes only with an Office365 subscription (or a preview version that will not be updated). It’s far easier to simply drag a geographic variable onto DataHero’s chart canvas and have a map automatically generated for you.

DataHero Revenue by State

You’re much too busy to spend time deciphering which version of your data you should be working with, or allotting time at the end of each quarter to update all your reports. DataHero steps in where Excel falls short, allowing you to visualize data in clear and easily-created charts. You can visualize your data through a live connection to the data sources you already work with, and never have to recreate the same report twice.

 

Want to learn more? Create a free DataHero account and give it a try.

 

By Kelli Simpson

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