Dumbing Down the Business to Look Smart
A week or so ago I stumbled upon a LinkedIn job offer for a “Market Insight Manager” for a multibillion-dollar corporation.
Data-driven stuff is one of my skills and passions, since I decided almost 20 years ago that the right way to assess website usability was to delve into access logs, plus I am not above finding a job, so I gave a closer look.
At some point in the “core skills” was this line: “absolutely required, great skills with Excel and Macros.”
Now, even in the ever-changing world of IT, there are a few fixed points. One is that you don’t do data analysis with Excel.
You. Just. Don’t.
SPSS, R, Gephi, Cognos or a hundred others. Just not Excel.
Since I am acquainted with the headhunter, I immediately knew this could not have been his idea, so there was only alternative left: the multibillion-dollar company had explicitly requested this.
Now, why would a large corporation want to do Market Insight (or any other flavour of BI or data management, for goodness’ sake) in Excel?
I do not know. But if I had to bet, I would bet that Excel is just about as much as the company can understand.
I can easily figure that company’s Bills of Materials run around as Word documents; I can easily figure management routinely asking IT to export data from SAP to Excel sheets and then import the edited data to SAP (or whatever they have).
I can easily figure that sales projections and other performance indicators are admirably aligned with board expectations (and bonus targets), and that only minor layoffs are periodically needed to take into account the existence of an outside world.
I can also easily figure such pathetic amateurs will not last long in a world that is more and more data-driven.
They’ll die to business as they deserve: unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.