Are spreadsheets the way to data science?

Excel HadoopA recent @able2extract survey asked a range of experts the following question: Where do you see the future of MS Excel in Business Intelligence Workflows?

The various perspectives of the experts polled can be viewed by following the above link.

Essentially, the message is simple: Excel remains an important BI tool because it is one of the best tools for providing a sandbox-like environment where anyone can play with data and come up with information and insight. However, IT will continue to hate it as they cannot govern its use.

Excel is having a massive impact on the future of big data analytics.

Just as with BI solutions, Excel may play a role in the big data life cycle, as either a data source or a data target for anlytics results, and as a presentation layer.

New features such as Powe rPivot and Power Query provide users the ability to work with bigger data sets.

But will Excel be the killer app for big data analytics?

This remains to be seen.

Big data is more than big.

Big data is about handling massive complexity – based on a combination of technical factors – that allow us to answer “what if” type of questions, and discover inferences in the data that we may not have been aware of.

Data quality and data governance become even more critical as complexity increases. The data management challenges related to the democratization of data become even more critical when dealing with all data.

Who should have access to it, is it correct, which source is the best available, how do we aggregate various sources of data, and many other questions must be answered if big data is to deliver trusted results.

Modern big data platforms such as Datameer combine the sandbox-like environment of spreadsheets with the scalability and power of Hadoop, and bring in big data governance features such as data lineage, access control and links to data policies and standards. These platforms borrow the intuitiveness of Excel to democratize big data analytics, while ensuring that the associated risks and costs are properly managed.

Microsoft and Datameer are leveraging this synergy with the recent announcement that Microsoft will offer Datameer’s big data analytics on Azure HDInsight.

What do you think?

Will Excel, or an Excel like platform, drive big data adoption in your business?







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