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SPSS and Excel

Posted on 2014-04-10
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Last Modified: 2014-04-11
EE Pros,

I have been exposed to SPSS as an ETL tool (only one of its capabilities (ie Stats.).  My "use case" was taking consistent data provided by my employer (each week) and mapping it into my personal Excel spreadsheet in order to keep the integrity while updating my spreadsheet.    I am most impressed with its ability to map data from one file to another on a visual basis as well as perform specific actions against the data as you move it from one file to another. My alternative in Excel was to write macros to do the data manipulation.

Here's my question;  How does SPSS compare to Excel for data manipulation?  And Statistical analysis?  Your personal experience with SPSS and Excel "Data slicer, pivots, etc." would be very helpful in the dialog and answer to the question.

Thank you in advance,

B.
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Question by:Bright01
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Expert Comment

by:richdiesal
ID: 39991841
SPSS has much more power to conduct statistical analyses than Excel does, at least without a lot of macro editing.  It is specifically designed for such analyses - analysis of variance, regressions (linear, logistic, etc), basic t-tests, etc.  With additional plugins, you can also do basic structural equations modeling, factor analysis, cluster analysis, etc.  It is quite robust.  The older versions (before 17 or so) were buggy, but it's been pretty good over the last few versions.

If by "statistical analysis" you really mean data visualization and arbitrary data reorganization (like pivoting), Excel is more flexible.  SPSS's tools are more analysis oriented, built off of the needs of social scientists who generally don't care about visualization as much, so it can be difficult to get the precise figures and tables you want out of it.  I actually usually end up exporting output tables from SPSS into Excel for that reason.
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Author Comment

by:Bright01
ID: 39995480
Richdiesal,

Thanks for the commentary and insight.  I just loaded the latest version of SPSS and I can see here the ETL capability is fantastic!  I was hoping that Excel may have something like it to compare two speadsheets or auto input columns into a customized WS, without having to use an outside tool or specific macros.  

Here's my challenge;  I have an Excel WB that I have customized a WS.  When new data comes in on a new WS, I need to translate that data into my customized WS in the right columns that do not line up (because I customized it).  The graphical capability of SPSS makes this rather easy....then as you suggest, export it.

Any comments?  I'm I correct in my assumptions?

And what do you use for dashboarding?  Cognos?

Thank you,

b.
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Accepted Solution

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richdiesal earned 2000 total points
ID: 39995559
Well, Excel is actually pretty powerful in terms of cross-worksheet transformations, even without creating pivotables or custom macros, using only in-sheet formulas (VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, MATCH, OFFSET, boolean operators, etc).  It's not terribly user-friendly though, which might be the issue you're running into.  Any sort of automated spreadsheet comparison will definitely require macros though.

I don't personally use dashboarding, because I don't need to do any monitoring... only defined projects with non-ongoing analytic objectives, which SPSS can do on its own...  so I can't help there!
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Author Closing Comment

by:Bright01
ID: 39995582
Thanks for the help!  I'm going to continue to work with SPSS for the ETL requirements.

B.
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