Data Mining and Predictive Analytics Software For Microsoft Excel

Vangie Beal

Updated · Dec 17, 2010

Software review: When it comes to business applications for data mining and predictive analytics, one thing is certain: Businesses want to investigate and integrate these tools, but understanding how to use them can be a stumbling block.

Vendors continue to offer the traditional assortment of enterprise applications to meet the data crunching needs of businesses of all sizes, but what is interesting to note is that not only is the variety of tools expanding, but the knowledge barrier to use them is getting lower, giving more businesses the opportunity to use technology to guide business decisions.

Also, many new applications are layered on top of popular office productivity software offerings as an “add-in” tool. This makes deployment a simple process. Importing your data is intuitive and reports are easy to customize and understand.


Predictive Analytics for the Masses

For those new to predictive analytics, the most common use in business applications is to use intelligent algorithms that will comb through data and exploit trends.

Let’s look at a classic example of retail sales for an ice cream store. By taking your past sales data in addition to weather and temperature details, it is likely that with the right tools you can predict each day’s gross revenues based on the day of the week and the temperature.

In this case, predictive analytics can help you determine early on what stock you need to order, how many employees you should have working on a particular day, what sales or promotions on a certain day will increase sales, and so on.

In a nutshell, mining data and using predictive analytics is going to find value in your data and predict what is most likely to happen so you can make better business decisions.


11Ants Does Data Mining with Microsoft Excel

The 11Ants Model Builder, by 11Ants Analytics, is a data mining and predictive analytics tool that is an add-in for Microsoft Excel (2007 or 2010). The benefit is that users who are familiar with Excel will be able to learn how to use the tool faster than what would be required for learning entirely new software.


Getting Started with 11Ants for Data Mining

To start, you will need to download and install the 11Ants Model Builder (a free 14-day trial is offered on the website). Once installed, you can access the tool via the Excel Ribbon so you only need to launch Excel and open your data files to get started. The 11Ants Analytics website also offers a handy guide for preparing your own data sheets.