Feature Technical & Digital Course of the Month – Excel Module 3 Data Analysis
Data Analytics, Data Analysis and Business Intelligence are key topics that are becoming increasingly important for businesses.
Gone are the days where there were IT departments specifically tasked with doing this and more and more it is expected of individuals within functions. There are a lot of good BI and reporting tools out there but a lot of people resort to using Excel at some point as it is so versatile.
Traditionally Business Intelligence is all about accessing and managing historical data, and being able to easily report on it. Creating dashboards has become a good means of sharing information in an easy to digest format. It enables businesses to identify problems and resolve them through analysis of historical data.
Business Analytics allows you to take your data to the next level and make reasonably accurate predictions. This can support decision makers in anticipating what is coming up so they can then stay ahead of the game. It supports businesses in performing data driven decision making and can be used to drive change in the business.
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Now all this sounds very technical, so where do you start? You can use Excel in a basic way but how can you use it more effectively to do data analysis? For me the key is to think about how your data is recorded. So many people create spreadsheets that look great but are one dimensional and cannot be interrogated or summarised in any other way than the way they are created. By working with data as transactional information you record everything you need and then use techniques such as pivot tables and charting to summarise and interrupt the data. If this is something you need to do a good start would be our Excel Module 3 – Data Analysis course. It is designed for intermediate level users of Excel and shows you how data needs to be input and how you can interrogate it. That can be from data manually input or from information extracted from other systems as CSV files. It looks at data ranges versus tables, different methods for filtering and extracting data and looks at how to build simple pivot tables to summarise your information.