Digging through messy data and doing numerous calculations just so you can submit a report or arrive at the result of your quarterly business development can sometimes be nigh impossible. After all, we are only human, and by the time we get to the other side of our spreadsheet equation, we have lost all sense of what we were trying to accomplish.
Luckily, there are data visualization and analysis tools out there that can do most of the heavy lifting for us. Remember, you will still need to do some of the work yourself, but putting it all together will become that much simpler. Let’s take a look at some of the best data analysis tools at our disposal.
At first, you might be surprised as to how much Open Refine resembles Google’s own Spread Sheets. This is because it started as a Google project but quickly became crowd sourced and independent. In practice, this means that Open Refine has all the built-in algorithms and formulas that you might need for your business data analysis.
Keep in mind that while it does resemble Spread Sheets, it doesn’t have the regular features you would expect, such as manual cell manipulation and custom algorithms. You would need to export your data and bring it back in. If that doesn’t cause too much headache, you might want to give Open Refine a shot.
Stanford University’s own data analysis tool is open to public use. While text manipulation and web-based interface is certainly a plus, you might consider the other factors as well. Some of the formulas provided as default don’t work really well with large amounts of data, often giving off false results or downright crashing the tool. While easy and accessible to use, Data Wrangler might not be a good tool for internal and sensitive data, since all of the data is stored at Stanford for research purposes.
As one of the best data visualization tools out there, Rapid Miner had to find its way to our list. It can not only manipulate and calculate custom data, analyze the required results but also model and visualize the results. This award-winning tool is known to provide great results no matter the data you are trying to analyze.
The near-perfect visualization system is just an added bonus considering everything that you are getting. If you need a tool that can help you lead and develop projects with coworkers that are less than adept at analysis, Rapid Miner is the perfect tool for the job.
Ever wonder how it would feel like if you had a personal computing assistant? Wolfram Alpha is exactly one such platform. Think of Google Search but for business analytics and data research.