Theory is like knowing, and practice is like doing. There is always a big gap between knowing and doing, and it is always easier said than done. Everyone can develop unlimited number of ideas but not everyone can turn them into actions. In the business world, action speaks louder than words. Nobody cares about theory, but everyone wants practical method to handle real-life problems.
Excel is bundled as part of Microsoft Office, and Microsoft Office is basically a must-have to almost every enterprise. The reason is two-fold. First, Microsoft Office has reached critical mass, and has become the “common language.” Enterprise using different application may encounter compatibility issue, and the conversion cost may not be justified. More importantly, the most basic version of Microsoft Office, or the standard version, already allows the user to write using Word, calculate using Excel and communicate using PowerPoint. At around US$400 per copy, Microsoft Office is definitely value for money as it helps everyone manage work and run business.
SPSS is a computer program for statistical analysis in social science, and is priced at around US$1,600 per copy. Although its functions are more powerful than Excel, most enterprise would not invest 4 times the cost of Microsoft Office for just some statistical analyses. It is not everyone’s job to perform analyses, but it is everyone’s job to make sure that the enterprise is creating value to the market. This does not mean that analyses are not at all important. Without the ability to analyze, it is almost impossible to identify where the problems are, and thus very difficult to solve problems. Analyses can help provide insights, but those insights may not necessarily be able to provide actions which bring both short-term or long-term improvement. Analyzing for the sake of analyzing is not effective. Even worse, it is a waste of resources.
Business is about numbers management. The important number in business is the bottom line, or profit. Profit is all that matters in the measure of success, and it is the unforgiving yardstick used to measure success. Businessperson would value and use the tool that allows him or her to achieve success within the shortest time possible. Tools that lead them nowhere are not welcome. Besides Microsoft Office, the most basic yet effective application adopted by more than 90% enterprise around the globe, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supply Chain Management (SCM) and other acronyms, which claim to help enterprise solve business problems, seem to be the obvious choice.
See Part II.