Microsoft Excel must be the most widely used analytic tool available today but, it’s not the only tool in my tool-bag and it should not be the only one in yours either. It’s perfect for building small models, has broad embedded functionality, good charting capabilities, pivot-tables (a superb tool worthy of its own post), comes with a programming language so you can extend its capability even further and almost everybody has a copy already. It’s awesome and I use it every day.
But...the data we analyze is getting much bigger and a lot more complex. Even with newer versions of Excel allowing over 1 million records in a sheet, what can you do usefully in Excel with 1 million records? Certainly, you don’t want to print it, it’s near impossible to chart or model against, bottom line you are using the wrong tool for the job. To do the job well you need to find, learn and use the right tool. Don’t believe me? Try chopping down a tree with a hammer!