Data Analysis Tools : Excel, SPSS or SAS?

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People generally ask the following questions at analytics forums :
  • Why use SPSS or SAS when excel has great data analysis functions?
  • Advantage of SAS over SPSS?
  • Which of these tools is the best for data analysis?
  • Which of these tools is the most popular in analytics field?
  • Is SAS worth learning?
  • Will SPSS help me fetch a good job in analytics industry?
Comparison of Excel, SPSS and SAS

Excel
SPSS
SAS
Maximum number of rows
Approx 1.048 million
Approx. 2.15 billion
Approx. 2.15 billion
Maximum number of columns
16,383
32,767
32,767
Price
Cheap
Expensive
More expensive than SPSS
License
Perpetual
Perpetual
Year on year
General Use
Easy to learn and use
Easy to learn and use
Hard to learn and use
Typical user
Non programmer
Non programmer
Programmer
Statistical Analysis
Very limited
Advanced Analysis
Advanced Analysis
Data Manipulation
Ok
Powerful
Very Powerful
Macro Programming
Powerful (VBA)
Ok
Very Powerful
Documentation
(Help Guide)
Ok
Excellent
Good
Popularity
Most widely used tool
Popular in market research field
Popular in data mining and business modeling

Job Market
If we look at the number of jobs posted on Indeed.com (World's most popular job search site), Excel has topped the list with more than 11K jobs, with SAS coming in second with 1.1K jobs. The data are presented in figure below (collected April 20,2013).

By Job Function
Let's dig into this job market data and study popularity of these tools by Job Function.

SAS
SAS is mostly used in business analytics and intelligence industry. IT Software functional area comes second in the list, followed by KPO/BPO, clinical research and finance etc.

SPSS
SPSS is mostly used in business analytics and intelligence industry. IT Software functional area comes second in the list, followed by KPO/BPO, finance and others. Others include Sales, Retail, Marketing, Logistics etc.

Excel
Excel is mostly used in finance industry. KPO/BPO industry comes second in the list, followed by IT software, business analytics and others. Others include HR,Retail, Marketing, Supply Chain, Logistics etc



Popularity in Social Media
LinkedIn.com
Microsoft Excel group has maximum number of members registered as compared to SAS and SPSS groups. The data are presented in the figure below (collected April 20,2013)


Facebook.com
Microsoft Excel page received maximum number of likes as compared to SAS and SPSS pages. The data are presented in the figure below (collected April 20,2013)



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About Author:

Deepanshu founded ListenData with a simple objective - Make analytics easy to understand and follow. He has close to 7 years of experience in data science and predictive modeling. During his tenure, he has worked with global clients in various domains like retail and commercial banking, Telecom, HR and Automotive.


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