Is the Excels Ideas function beneficial for untrained users?
Written by T. Engel
"Term Paper: People trust Excel. It is the program of choice for those who need data analysis tools. In addition to its value as a tool, Excel is also widely used. Collaborating and processing spreadsheets together helps people grow as a team. The program can be used for various tasks, such as identifying new business opportunities or analyzing past projects. The power of Excel comes from its simplicity, which can save users valuable time (Stegeman, 2020). Excel Ideas is an AI-based insight aid that helps users take full advantage of the powerful features of Microsoft Office applications. It actively recommends creating spreadsheets and identifying trends, patterns, and outliers in the data set. Ideas enable people to understand and analyze data in an instant. The plan was developed in close cooperation with the Microsoft Excel team, the umbrella research project behind Ideas. It was announced at Microsoft Ignite Conference 2019 (Spataro, 2019). This article aims to determine the extent to which Excel Ideas helps users understand the data-suggested methods for obtaining sales data sets from office supply companies and analyzing survey data. Since the AI behind the Ideas function has a different understanding of data from humans, the recommended results may distract or confuse amateur users. Therefore, an in-depth understanding of the results presented by the Excel Ideas function helps to understand the usefulness of one-click intelligence. It is estimated that in 2012, more than 55 million users in the United States used spreadsheets for various business tasks, including data management and decision support. The system behind the spreadsheets is classified in a two-dimensional structure, providing excellent versatility for editing them. Users can construct spreadsheets in various ways. They are meant to be understood by humans. The result is that other spreadsheet analysis tools cannot use multiple spreadsheets because complex data analysis runs on different logical foundations. Power BI is mainly suitable for explicitly defined architectures. However, spreadsheet data usually takes the form of an unspecified structure. Therefore, analysis tools based on relational data can only use structured spreadsheets, such as header hierarchies and repetitive structures. This shows the importance of understanding the structure of the spreadsheet (Dou et al., 2018, pp. 497-499). In the research of Ding et al. (2019), emphasizing the increasing demand of users for automatic discovery capabilities. The need to discover compelling data patterns has evolved into a daily necessity for data analysis and exploration. Automatically discovering patterns from multidimensional data is a big challenge because current methods focus on mining unique patterns. The lack of a unified expression of the mixed mode types and the general framework led to the development of a new system, QuickInsights. It proposes a unified expression of exciting patterns called insights. Excel allows multiple ways to visualize data. Some features are complicated to use, and it takes time to understand and display trends or outliers in a data set. The Ideas feature is part of Microsoft Power BI and uses the same AI; it can be used to analyze data sets on the fly. In order to use the functions of the application, data needs to be prepared. The data in the spreadsheet needs to be in a table with a single header. These header variables cannot be reused or have spaces. In addition, the column must not have merged cells, and the cells need to be formatted accurately, because the date is easy to confuse the idea. (Branscombe, 2019) The Excels Ideas function has a natural language query option, allowing users to ask questions to the program to understand the data set without writing complex formulas. These questions are answered in the form of visual summaries, trends and patterns. Added to the language query function is to provide personalized suggestions. It tries to help users ask the best questions. Microsoft 365 subscribers can access the ""ideas"" feature in several languages through the latest Office update, while the natural language query feature is only available for the English excel system. The analysis provided is divided into four insight categories: ranking, trend, outlier, and majority. The Rank category selects the most important items and highlights them, while ranking the rest of the data from high to low. Trends show stable patterns in a series of time data; they can increase or decrease and repeat patterns, such as seasonal events. Outliers highlight items that are very different from all other items in the data; while looking for outliers, this class also clusters all other data points in the set. During the data measurement period, Items can be positive or negative. The last category, Majority, looks for data points that can assign most of the total value to a single factor. The Ideas function can find multiple or no class results as insights into the provided data set, depending on the preparation and type of data (Microsoft, 2021). The first step in applying the Excel Ideas feature is to import the dataset in an empty excel workbook. The data set selected in this article is a fictitious office supplies company's sales data table, where each row represents an order. Table 1 shows the data set; these rows show seven different variables: OrderDate, Region, sales representative name, product name, Units sells, UnitPrice, and Total Price. To help the system understand the different variables, some columns have been changed, so OrderDate is treated as a date and Cost is displayed as Euros. Put the data in the workbook, and then press the ""idea"" button, AI will start to analyze the data and provide 42 different results based on the presented data." Read Less