Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why Excel Analysts Aren’t Good Analysts

I love data. And I love data analysis. I also love spreadsheets. Making a great spreadsheet with complex formulas, multiple workbook links, and fancy macros brings me great joy. The simplicity that rests on rigorous complexity is very satisfying to me. There is nothing more comforting than knowing a function or an object will do exactly the same thing each time, and that the spreadsheet does exactly what you tell it to - the spreadsheet produces exactly what you want.

The predictability and consistency is near perfect.

As much as I appreciate perfect predictability, and as much as I value a solid body of data to make business decisions, I’ve really come to terms lately with the simple truth that life is not a spreadsheet and that the universe rarely functions logically, predictably, and consistently.

Of course there are trends and patterns. And of course making decisions with consideration of bodies of data analyzed and pivot-tabled to pristine perfect is a good idea. We can’t rely on just opinion, which is sadly what most do even in this day and age of pie charts and graphs.

The opportunity is to sense forward. Intuition is becoming an ever greater necessity in this day and age of the unpredictable and uncertain. And, after years in logic and predictability, our excel analysts (coupled with out dependency on them) have a lot of of catching up to do.

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