February 21

3 reasons why Excel is rejected for big data


I had an interesting conversation with a friend yesterday. We were discussing on my program called “Making Sense of Business Data” and she made the following candid comments. And my answers to her comments.

Comment: Many are afraid of big data as if they will explode. They think it is hard to sieve out stories too. How can Excel, compared to other newer tools. Help them without them being daunted by the formulae too?

Answer: If you are not able to handle small data, you will have a big problem with big data because you will not be able to handle the sheer volume of numbers coming out of it. That is why I have launched a new program called “Making Sense of Business Data in Excel and Power BI”. If you can handle the data using these 2 power apps, you will have no problem with other tools. I have used many tools over the years and I can safely tell you that Excel is still the best candiate to manage small and big data.

Comment: Aside from addressing their fears, can you address their desire to be better storytellers too that go beyond Excel?

Answer: It is not about Excel. You can become a good story teller when you understand the data you owned. You can’t tell a story if there is not content to tell the story. Big data can become highly complex and requires good technical skills to manage. If the person cannot handle Excel and its formulas, he would have failed to use the sexy tools available to him. 

Comment: Excel cannot handle big data.

Answer: Most people have a low opinion of Excel and thought that Excel cannot handle big data. The truth is it can. My personal experience is running reports from a big data pool of $150 million rows of records and it works perfectly well in Excel. The problem is the IT department did not set it up properly to hadle the big data. For many of my bank clients and big corporate clients, they are restricted in the amount of data they could pull at any one time.


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