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Spreadsheets are Hurting Your Data’s Credibility

By July 16, 2018 July 31st, 2019 No Comments

Still using an outdated spreadsheet application?

It’s time to upgrade to a big data analytics platform.

If you are like millions of business professionals, there is a strong chance that you and a spreadsheet application (i.e. Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets) go back a long way, and there is also a chance that you’ve been using it for purposes it wasn’t really designed for, like working with large datasets and big data analytics.

There is no question that a tool such as Excel is a great software application, and this has a lot to do with the reputation it earned in the 1990s as a flexible and dynamic solution for the office. Spreadsheets are an essential part of every office tool suite.

As a result, they are found on nearly every PC and laptop that are used to work with big data. They are super easy to use and are great for math, formulas, etc. This has led some users to take the next step with them: loading larger and larger data files and attempting to analyze the information using a tool that was not designed for this type of analysis. This is where problems start to pop up.

The Limitations of Spreadsheets with Big Data Analytics

One of the best things about spreadsheets is how accessible they are. Everyone has them, and can edit them. The worst thing about spreadsheets is also that everybody has them, and can edit them. With the casual click of a mouse on the ‘sort’ button, your expertly crafted masterpiece can be turned into digital confetti, then saved and shared without anything alerting you to obvious errors. When you share data in a spreadsheet, you have no control over what others might do to your data. Even the most careful among us make mistakes.

Key takeaways:

  • Data often gets distorted in spreadsheets. Even with new charting tools, it is too easy to miss a row, input an incorrect formula, select an improper range, or run into syntax errors.
  • Spreadsheets are great at showing you errors in formulas, but they have zero capability to alert you when you’ve made errors with data.
  • Spreadsheets lack the power to work with Big Data. They just weren’t designed for it. Even mid-sized datasets start to slow them down and cause annoying crashes and data loss when you run out of memory on your PC.

The Power of AI for Big Data Modeling

If you want to create data structures and visualizations that intuitively show what your business truly looks like, you need a tools that maintain your data as a data model, something that can be shared with all team members and intuitively understood, so that everyone is on the same page. Completely customizable and fully detailed visualizations of your data are essential to representing your business’s story in the most powerful and actionable way.

When you have AI powered constructs and routines assisting you with the data exploration and modeling process, you can discover relationships and insights that you would not have realized using spreadsheet pivots and queries. With AI modeling assistance, you can work with hundreds of data sources to come up with analytical customer profiles and product performance scenarios.

Although humans can usually understand the data context and learn about it, a machine can detect complex patterns and execute formulas while understanding the data simultaneously. This cuts out the tedious work that would have had to typically been completed by a human over a long period of time, while also making little to zero mistakes. Sounds valuable, right?

The Power of One-Click Enrichments for Big Data

Remember Clippy, the Microsoft Office assistant that used to get in the way whenever you wanted to try different things in Excel? Before Clippy was retired due to negative response by users, Microsoft had big plans for developing these smart assistants. For example, if you were working on a data modeling project, Clippy would have appeared and offered to run a data enrichment scenario with a set of complex instructions.

Clippy is no longer around to interrupt you with suggestions that mostly underscore the limitations of Excel, for good reason; nonetheless, you now have the One-Click Enrichment option offered by the advanced AI-assisted data analytics platform, Inzata.

Let’s say you are working on a political campaign that seeks to figure out the type of messages that should run on the most effective media channels, with the goal of persuading the most people to vote for your candidate.

You have campaign events, donation and voter behavior data for modeling, but you need to present real-time scenarios to the campaign managers so that they can develop messages, purchase airtime and calculate budgets for social media advertising.

With Inzata’s data analytics platform, you can take a drag-and-drop approach to compiling data and establishing relationships; moreover, you can use the One-Click Enrichments to enrich the data you already have with other values like details geo-location attributes, and advanced demographics. Create various scenarios that can be shared with campaign managers and consultants. These tasks would quickly overwhelm a spreadsheet. With Inzata, this whole process takes only minutes. Inzata lets you transform raw data to actionable analytics in under 30 minutes.

In conclusion, business owners and big data analysis professionals who are serious about being able to process, model, visualize, and share strategic information with associates and partners should look beyond spreadsheets and think about reaping the benefits of an AI-powered data analytics platform.

Are you ready to start ensuring your data’s credibility? Invest in Inzata. Schedule a demonstration with one of our data scientists today.

Nikki Horn

Nikki Horn

Digital Marketing Manager

"A self-proclaimed queen bee of marketing operations."