Great Debates: Excel vs. Access

I look at Excel as a gateway to data management and database programming. Let’s start with the basics on a familiar tool.

Someone asked me why I focus on using Excel to teach people how to think in data instead of Access. My answer was pretty simple. Most people in the workforce is going to have more experience with Microsoft Excel than Microsoft Access.

To introduce basic concepts so that more people understand how data works, Excel is the most familiar for my audience. I admit, more technical people will choose a database over a spreadsheet. There are situations, though, that you don’t need a database right away.

For example, if you’re starting a business and you only have 200 customers, you probably don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on software and a developer to manage that data. Maybe not even hundreds on any of the software being advertised on the internet. Maybe you still feel comfortable using paper and you can handle the admin work. It really just depends on comfort level and resources (whether its budget or knowledge of managing data).

From personal experience, I took no joy inheriting Excel files and miscellaneous database solutions that was poorly built, structured, and documented. I’m willing to bet the cause is because the folks responsible for implementing missed out on applying basic concepts. Personally, I believe the concepts are applicable even if the tool is a piece of paper and a pen.

Thoughts? Questions? Let’s talk story, holler @ me.

Big Gold: A Close Look… (Book Review #0003)

Ric Flair is most commonly associated with the Big Gold belt. First introduced in 1986, the belt has been active and retired multiple times. It was used until 2014.

You may have noticed that I’m a big fan of professional wrestling. The spectacle that goes behind a professional wrestling event peaks my interest because it takes a lot of thought to execute a live event. For an event to be successful, the attendees have to be invested in the participants. Last year, I finished a book that provided the history of one of the most recognizable prizes in professional wrestling, Big Gold. The book writes about the belt’s adventure:

  • History (its significance in professional wrestling)
  • Origin
  • leather strap change
  • NWO abuse
  • lack of vendor support (vendor existed but relationship did not due to the changing of ownership of the promotion)
  • restoration process (what did it take to get back its original luster)

As a fan of pro wrestling, I enjoyed learning the history about the belt. As a process management professional, I appreciated learning what was done or not done to preserve the original prize.

So what can be taken from this? If it matters to you, keeping a system could avoid plenty of misfortunes such as losing vendor relationships, destroyed items, and not knowing what to do when things go wrong. The book is truly an example of when there isn’t a system in place it becomes very expensive to maintain a legacy. It will take a relevant professional to take care of the belt.

I would highly recommend the book for any professional wrestling fan. If you’re a professional consultant, I would cite it as an example of not establishing a system.

Thoughts? Comments? I’m an open book, holler @ me and let’s talk story.