Data is incredibly important in business, and Microsoft Excel can be a powerful tool in your business analytics toolbox for data mining analysis. This article will explain what data mining is, how it can benefit your business, and how Excel can be the tool of choice for bringing the benefits of data mining to your business.

What is data mining?

Data mining is a new technical field just in its infancy and already showing enormous progress. Put simply, it is knowledge discovery: the process of sifting through data to discover linkages and trends. In today’s information age, data about nearly anything imaginable is more accessible than ever, and data mining takes advantage of that fact and of powerful computing technology to make your data work for you. Because of the volume of information involved, data mining relies on computers to do most of the initial work and to highlight trends that an analyst might not otherwise have noticed.

How can data mining help your business?

Data mining can tell a business analyst things the analyst didn’t even realize they were looking for, in effect addressing the “unknown unknowns” and providing fresh insights to drive business decisions. Data mining has many possible applications for businesses, including:

  • Revealing trends in customer behaviour and loyalty
  • Creating direct marketing campaigns with the highest likely rate of response
  • Simplifying market basket analysis
  • Predicting what types of interactive marketing would best appeal to each customer
  • Fraud detection

How to use Excel for data mining?

Excel is built for handling large quantities of data. You can easily sort, filter, and validate your data. Excel’s macros and variety of formulas of varying complexities make it a powerful tool for statistical analysis. There are many Excel consultants that can provide support when it comes to these Excel data services including data mining. Get in touch with a spreadsheet specialist at The Excel Experts to see the plethora of services on offer for your business, they can offer full review of your spreadsheet usage including conditional formatting.

Excel’s conditional formatting can be used to examine changes and trends over time, which can be useful for studying customer behaviour or analysing developing markets. Conditional formatting can also scan data and quickly highlight outliers – an invaluable aid for fraud detection.

One of the most useful data analysis tools in Excel is the pivot table. Pivot tables use reference data to summarize information into concise tables for drawing inferences and conclusions. For example, a pivot table based on quarterly sales data can help determine which markets are likely to generate the highest sales next quarter.