Excel Excels!

December 18, 2009

Interesting article last week about the Top 10 Trends in Analytics, Business Intelligence and Performance Management for 2010 here:

http://www.enterpriseirregulars.com/5706/the-top-10-trends-for-2010-in-analytics-business-intelligence-and-performance-management/

Over the next few weeks we will be exploring each of these trends in greater detail for our student community here.  But the one that interests all of us at ATI most is the prediction that Excel will continue to provide the dominant paradigm for end-user BI consumption. With the launch of Excel 2010 with enhanced charting, collaborative and conditional formatting features, Excel is more powerful than ever before. The BI world can truly be divided in to B.E (before Excel) and A.E (after Excel) – and you don’t want to know how companies managed before Excel!!

Excel has many features that even old hands don’t know about, and fidgeting with its ‘Help’ feature is as good a way as any to spend a quiet day in the office.

For today, we leave you with this tiny featurette that we can bet most of you didn’t know about. Did you know that you could remove duplicates from a long list of entries using the Advanced Filter feature?

Just click on Data > Filter> Advanced Filter and select the column with duplicated entries in List Range. Select Copy to Another Location and click on ‘Unique Records Only’. Now, go to “Copy to” and select the starting point where you would like to see your unduplicated list.

And voila!

You don’t even need to sort the rows before doing this!

If you have any other interesting Excel Tricks that you would like to share with us, write to us. We are always willing to learn!!

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What is Cloud Computing

December 18, 2009

You have been reading about Cloud Computing for a while now, but are still not quite sure what it means to you. Don’t worry, neither do most of those who talk about it! One thing is for sure though, it will change analytics as we know it for ever

Cloud Computing essentially is a new generation of computing that utilizes distant servers for data storage and management, allowing the user devices to use smaller and more efficient chips that consume less energy than standard computers. What this effectively means is ‘distributed computing’. There is no need for you to invest in the large servers, routers and data pipes required to solve difficult business problems and calculations. You can instead obtain this as a ‘service’ through the internet in an elastic and scalable manner!

And what does that mean for us? Cloud Computing and its platforms allow companies that do not want to invest in complex and expensive data warehousing applications and hardware  to store at a much lower cost than before. This in turn means a much larger market for decision-making services than any one had envisaged. Even the smallest of companies will eventually use these ‘clouds’ to store their data and pay handsomely for those who can interpret this information meaningfully

Finally a word about the ‘cloud’ that nearly all of us have used at some time or another- GMail! Did you realize that webmail is nothing more than cloud computing of a type- with your ability to etreive your mail (‘data’)  from anywhere in the world with the help of the internet? Do you know where this mail is stored- definitely not in the server of your machine!  And how much does the service cost you? Now imagine, if organizations could store their data in a similar secure ‘virtual’ location! (More about security in a later article!)  Why wouldn’t they? The possibilities are endless!

For a detailed overview on cloud computing, we recommend this excellent article : http://wp.nmc.org/horizon2009/chapters/cloud-computing/

And a beautiful example of a Cloud Computing based application, in a review by David Pogue

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/17/technology/personaltech/17pogue.html?ref=business