Tableau & Quantrix – Diplaying History & Modeling the Future

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Tableau Software and their entire product offer.

Tableau is a great tool for investigating historical data, particularly when that data comes from very granular data sources. It’s ability to quickly render the information easily and in formats that conform with the best practices of data visualization is uniquely accessible.

I’m promoting Tableau as a High Value Low Cost Business Information (BI) system. A system that can scale from flat files, spreadsheets….to enterprise class data warehouse files in a way that incremental and affordable to a much wider audience than existing (higher cost/more complex) business information systems.

However, Tableau isn’t a platform for creating information regarding the future. A tool I’ve recently discovered is. It’s called Quantrix.

Quantrix is a spreadsheet with a very different underlying data paradigm. Instead of using the traditional row/column/cell paradigm for indicating formula references, Quantrix uses a very different method for expressing formulas.

Quantrix expresses the spreadsheet workbook as a table called a “matrix.” Rows and columns or the matrix dimensions are called “categories.” The structure reminds me of what an Excel pivot-table looks and acts. The major difference is that this structure is native to how Quantrix is designed. The result is a highly “dimension-able” forecasting tool.

By defining underlying assumptions to the model in a separate “assumptions” matrix and associating those assumptions with a primary display matrix I can imagine very robust and clean modeling solutions being possible in Quantrix with much less effort than in traditional spreadsheet models.

The best way to get a basic understanding of the Quantrix is to click the view tour button here at the Quantrix website.

I’m excited about the possibility of using Tableau in conjunction with Quantrix to create very robust and granular forecasting models. I’m going to experiment with this idea over the next couple of months internally in my company. If the result works out as I imagine it can, I would hope to begin offering solutions using Quantrix and training in the tool as part of our High Value Low Cost BI solutions at InterWorks Inc.

To those of you tweeting or e-mailing me regarding questions about my earlier tweets regarding Quantrix, I hope this better explains my thinking on the tool and how I see Tableau and Quantrix being complementary solutions. Tableau for historical data visualization and Quantrix for modeling future events, potentially using the same grain of data for future modeling that’s available in historical analysis via Tableau.

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