By Ben Tai
Harnessing the power of data analysis can be quite frustrating if you are still depending on IT to gather the data you need to run and create various reports.
After waiting days, weeks, or even months for IT to retrieve data from various data silos, all you may receive is a spreadsheet mashup with old data. You still have to do much of the actual analysis yourself. Even with knowledge of spreadsheet manipulation, it will still waste hours of time. And how good is the analysis if sales have slowed dramatically or spiked the day after your report was run? Or you don’t get all the data you need because IT didn’t realize all of what you wanted? There goes any hope of getting a competitive advantage.
You realize there has to be a better way—without heading back to college to become a data scientist. The solution is a cloud-based analysis platform that centralizes your data, eliminating the need for a costly data warehouse. It gives you the power to control and manipulate data across many functions instantly to help you make better business decisions.
Business users turn to spreadsheet analysis for many reasons. The real concern is that although spreadsheets may not be the problem, they can keep you from having a better solution. So, whether you are using one or 50, here are five reasons why you should ditch the spreadsheet and empower yourself with cloud-based data analysis.
One Version of the Truth
Even if a small team is working with only a couple of spreadsheets, it is bound to run into problems as the numbers are updated, columns get sorted, and formulas change. Emailing spreadsheets back and forth is fraught with peril—whose version is correct? That’s hard to know without an audit trail.
One centralized platform in the cloud for analysis that users sign into from anywhere to use or make changes ensures that everyone is on the same page and has one, single version of the truth.
Avoid Spreadsheet Sprawl
Even if you are building spreadsheets for yourself, wouldn’t you like to stop recreating the same one all the time like when you need to change out the data or reconstruct your logic for a different group, district or region, or maintain many similar spreadsheets just to keep up with the versioning? Rebuilding and managing spreadsheets is tedious and time consuming.
What you need is the ability to create the analysis logic once and then update the logic centrally and bring in any data set for analysis that you need, simply swapping one set of data for another when needed, which saves hours of discovering the right logic to recreate spreadsheet analysis.
When your email gets hacked, who will have access to the critical corporate data you’ve been emailing back and forth to get your project completed? You probably aren’t thinking about security as you send this data back and forth. What if it falls into the wrong hands? Wouldn’t it be better to send everything encrypted, with restrictions on who can see what data, and with visibility to who makes changes and when changes are made? Having a real-time audit trail can be valuable.
Most spreadsheets aren’t made for single consumption. Most likely, a few people are looking at and acting upon the information you compiled. You can’t update the spreadsheet until the director of marketing returns it, and you’re hoping she’ll highlight the changes she’s made, and let you know what she thinks about the numbers.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could see her changes the minute after she made them, read her comments and comment back, and receive notifications every time the spreadsheet is reviewed or changed? Now that would be 21st century analysis.
On Demand Analysis under Your Control
To compete in today’s rapidly moving marketplace, you need to be able to analyze your customer data for a competitive edge. But if you are using antiquated tools and relying on IT to have time to get or build reports for you, you are most likely falling behind. Time to face the facts, the dilemma you are experiencing is hoping IT can help and knowing they can’t.
If you begin tapping into a centralized, cloud-based analysis service, you can take back control of your data. You won’t have to wait for IT, or wait weeks to get critical information you need to make rapid decisions. You’ll be able to make them today, in real time. So, say goodbye to spreadsheet frustration and empower yourself with cloud-based data analysis. SW
Ben Tai is the founder and CEO of DrivenBI. As the CEO, he oversees all operations in the company. Before launching DrivenBI, he was most recently VP of global services atbBusiness Objects, now an SAP Company. Tai also served as VP leading worldwide professional services at Vitria. He holds a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from NYU Tandon School of Engineering and studied American Culture at Columbia University and Business Administration at USC Marshall Business School.
Jul2016, Software Magazine