Friday, February 13, 2009

How to Use Google Spreadsheets for No-Cost Data Analytics

Most users are unaware that Google Spreadsheets, a part of Google Docs, the online productivity suite that's free for individuals, has a majority of the features users look for in Microsoft Excel. Google Spreadsheets' analytics capability can instantly enhance your use of business, organizational or personal information. Knowledge Center contributor Oudi Antebi explains how Google Spreadsheets can satisfy virtually all of your daily spreadsheet needs, including how to use Google Spreadsheets for no-cost data analytics.

In some ways Google Spreadsheets goes beyond Microsoft Excel and can actually extend the enterprise user's capabilities. Google Spreadsheets can help users in the enterprise with collaboration, visualization and analytics.

1. Collaboration
Google Spreadsheets allows multiple users to work together in real time on a single spreadsheet report. Even if you're not ready to replace Excel, you will benefit from uploading your existing spreadsheet to Google Spreadsheets, then inviting people to a collaborative session. When finished, you can simply save your spreadsheet back to Excel or keep it live on Google Docs.

2. Visualization
Google has built some interesting data visualization tools into its free Spreadsheets application. These tools, known as gadgets, can be added to a Google spreadsheet as needed. For example you can inset an animated "motion chart" into your spreadsheet to show how data has changed over time.

3. Data analytics
The analytical features in Google Spreadsheets are extremely powerful, enabling numbers to tell stories that might otherwise have never been found. By being able to "slice and dice" data, you can see your numbers in a new light and gain important insights.
Pivot tables are a great case in point for the power of analytics. By inserting a pivot table into your spreadsheet, you can instantly and dynamically compare classes or information such as expenses over time, sales by geography and so forth. Or you can quickly identify your top 10 (or bottom 10) products, vendors or salespeople.

Read full article and a step-by-step guide to using analytics in a Google spreadsheet: http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Enterprise-Applications/How-to-Use-Google-Spreadsheets-for-NoCost-Data-Analytics/

2 comments:

Marc K said...

Hello. I've tried the pivot table and it works great. But when i want to do a shared review of a gap sheet, using the pivot table as a driver, it seems like the pivot table saving features is by user, so i can't share my analysis with the others. is it a way to solve it ?

Shimon Shlevich said...

Marc, thank you very much for trying. As an owner of a gadget, you have permissions to save the report. You can also grant others with modify/save permissions. In order to help you better, please send us your contact details to support@panorama.com - we will understand your scenario better and guide you through.