I’m in Chicago today to work with one of my favorite clients. I love working with them because they are focused on the right things. They’re focused on business results and their strategy for getting results is to encourage their people to follow the right process when trying to turn data into actionable insight. We’ve helped them shape that process and here’s what it looks like:
- Raw Data
- Data Transformation, Cleaning
- Data Modeling
- Writing Calculations, Analytics
- Interactive, Actionable Reporting
This process is sort of happening in Old Excel right now for tens of millions of people but it’s happening in a way that’s incredibly time consuming and manual, in a way that requires a lot of work and even more re-work. The most important part of this process, the way most of us want it to be, is that the process is automated — meaning we build something once and then hit refresh the next time we need to update it. That process is mostly not happening in Old Excel right now but it’s definitely happening for everyone who’s made the leap to Modern Excel with Power Query and Power Pivot. It’s also happening for everyone that’s made the jump to other BI platforms like Alteryx or Tableau.
So here’s the inspiration for me writing this. This client is communicating this to their people:
Look we’re going to give you Tableau, Alteryx, Power Pivot / Power Query / Power BI and we don’t care which one you use; we only care about you following this process.
Wow. You might think this would make me a little uneasy — I mean at PowerPivotPro we certainly have a bias around which tools are the best, but this approach actually makes me very happy. It’s real simple, what matters is results, and the way you get results with data is by following this process.
If you’re caught up in this nonsense about which tool is the best and that’s keeping you from the bigger picture then I feel bad for you. You can make absolute shit with any analytics product on the market; you can also make pure fucking gold. The distinction isn’t between people that are using this tool or that tool. In the world of analysts the distinction is between people that are delivering actionable insights that move the needle on their business and those people that are delivering noise. If you’re not aware of this distinction then you’re probably on the wrong side of the equation. Get with it!
So here’s my question to you — out of all the steps in the process that I layed out which ones do you find the most interesting or puzzling. Drop me a comment and let me know and I’ll write my next post about whatever gets the most interest.
Austin is VP of Operations & Growth at PowerPivotPro – check us out http://www.powerpivotpro.com