From time to time I keep pondering on what could be the future and I am sure lot of us get this science fiction imagery where the future data analyst will be given just a pair of holographic gloves and perform three dimensional analysis.
Let us stop day dreaming and get to the basics. Dashboards have come a long way. These days lot of vendors are catering towards consuming big data etc. but I remember the days when the common target of BI vendors was "Excel". Looks like the focus has totally shifted from "Excel as the enemy" to "Big Data as the elephant".
#1 In my opinion, Excel is still a big problem and because Excel solves other big problems in any organization it is going to co-exist for a long time. Look at how the open data sites have done it. They have democratized the availability of data through portals and you can download your data via csv files, XML or JSON dumps.
A good BI eco-system should allow for easy assemblage of such small sized datasets whether it be Excel/CSV or any other text file into a central repository. If this can be achieved then "Excel" is no longer your enemy and it becomes just another vehicle for your data set.
For e.g Earlier your marketing department exported your monthly google analytics data into Excel and did some independent powerpoint presentations. It is this powerpoint presentation that is being circulated around the company.
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