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Blog > Turning Data into Information – How to use Excel to make decisions

Turning Data into Information – How to use Excel to make decisions

affiché le 8 juin 2016

by Maria Lahiffe

Jim Barksdale, former Netscape CEO, once quipped, “If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.”

More and more managers and funders are demanding data to support decision-making – and for good reason. Decisions based on objective information are of a higher quality than those based on intuition. But here’s the thing: you need INFORMATION to make good decisions, but you collect DATA. What’s the difference? Data is raw, disorganized facts which need to be processed. Information is data which has been processed, organized, structured or presented in a context that makes it useful.

Here are some examples:



Census data on its own:

1234 Bank Street, 48 years old, full-time employed, $75,000 per year

Average employment among residents aged 30-50 in downtown Ottawa

A participant rated 8/10 satisfaction with a service they received

Average satisfaction rate with that service from all participants last week

A list of names of attendees at a camp

Number of attendees per week

Someone called the crisis line last night at 9:06 pm

Number of calls taken last night, and how it compares with a weekend night


Excel is a powerful tool to allow you to collect data, and convert it into information that you can use to help your managers make better decisions and your funders understand what a great job you are doing!

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