Using spreadsheet models makes analyzing complex data sets, comparing various scenarios, and making decisions much simpler and faster than they would otherwise be. And, while most people believe modeling is solely used within finance functions, there’s much more to them than that! In this article, we’re going to cover 4 modern spreadsheet modeling examples, the industries they serve, and the problems they solve.
But, before we get into these epic spreadsheet modeling examples, let’s take a look at…
What Is Spreadsheet Modeling & How It’s Evolved in Recent Years
Spreadsheets are one of the most powerful data analysis tools out there (providing you’re using the right tool). And, spreadsheet modeling is a simplified representation of how things work in the real world. Modeling professionals can simulate how complex processes would change based on different model variables & assumptions. In addition, models can be used to simulate real-life scenarios.
There is one BIG issue, though!
“As data gets bigger and bigger, the tools we’ve become accustomed to (Excel, Google Sheets, etc) can’t keep up. As such, modelers find themselves looking for new methods or new skills (i.e. learning to code) just to get the job done.”
As data gets bigger and bigger, the tools we’ve become accustomed to (Excel, Google Sheets, etc) can’t keep up. As such, modelers find themselves looking for new methods or new skills (i.e. learning to code) just to get the job done.
And, let’s be honest… you shouldn’t need to do that.
Luckily though, there is a solution. One that doesn’t require having to learn to code/ program. But, I’ll share more on that later!
4 Modern Spreadsheet Modeling Examples
Despite being commonly associated with finance, spreadsheet modeling is woven into EVERY industry! And, the examples in this article are all VERY different. You might actually be surprised at some of the amazing things modelers do.
Spreadsheet Model(s) For Quantitative Finance
When someone says the word “spreadsheet”, you instantly think of finance. I mean, that’s how spreadsheets were born after all. And, a big part of finance is accurate forecasting. **Enter** quantitative modeling!
In finance, quantitative modeling involves organizing and interpreting data sets to identify trends in the broader markets using mathematical formulas. Researchers can spot specific patterns using data clustering methods, which isolate certain variables.
Quantitative modeling is also useful for tracking securities prices, customer demand, and other market reactions. Quantitative modeling cannot predict everything in a global context, but it continues to play an important role in calculating probabilities and helping businesses avoid unnecessary risks.
A quantitative finance modeler typically has an advanced degree (Ph.D.) in a quantitative discipline such as statistics, physics, engineering, computer science, mathematics, or operations research. In addition to their quantitative background, they may also complete a master’s degree in finance with a quantitative orientation, such as the Master of Quantitative Finance, the Master of Computational Finance, or the Master of Financial Engineering, which is becoming increasingly popular.
Some real-life quantitative spreadsheet model examples include; asset prices, market movements, and portfolio returns.
Spreadsheet Model(s) For Epidemiology
Applied epidemiology contributes massively to public health. In fact, this field is considered one of the most important factors by public health officials when they are determining what information to share with the population.
Epidemiology spreadsheet models can be used to determine optimal control strategies against emerging infections, such as SARS-CoV-2, Zika, Ebola, etc, and to predict the impact of vaccination strategies.
It’s the job of applied epidemiologists to plan or direct clinical studies of pressing public health issues to prevent problems from recurring. The goal is to determine what areas are susceptible to a particular illness, why that is, and what can be done about it. Applied epidemiology requires both strong quantitative and analytical skills.
This particular spreadsheet modeling example has been used to accurately predict the COVID-19 pandemic evolution in urban areas. You can adapt this model to closely follow the evolution of COVID-19 in any large city by simply adjusting parameters related to demographic conditions and aggressiveness of the response from a society/government to epidemics.
Spreadsheet Models For Environmental Planning
In environmental data analysis, data is collected from the environment to design projects with minimal impact on the environment, and identify natural resources that should be conserved. In addition to collecting raw environmental data, they may analyze long-term climate trends, water table levels, weather patterns, and any other environmental information.
It is typical for a modeler in this industry to have a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) degree, especially if they are working in fields related to climate, planning, or emergency management.
This environmental planning spreadsheet modeling example for numerical groundwater flow shows how to develop a two-dimensional steady-state, vertically integrated groundwater flow model for a confined irregular aquifer with three boundary conditions, subject to pumping and recharge.
Spreadsheet Models For The Natural Sciences
As society struggles to cope with climate change, anthropogenic pressures on finite natural resources, and the effects they have on water, energy and food security, infrastructure, human health, natural hazards, and biodiversity, an understanding of the natural environment is becoming increasingly important.
Forecasting or projecting environmental change relies heavily on spreadsheet modeling. By analyzing the data generated by different observational and monitoring techniques, we can make predictions and analyze “what-if” scenarios about the future. In general, models can be categorized into two groups:
- Process models that capture and/or abstract over physical processes under consideration, and
- Data-driven models thatare derived from empirical statistical fits to observations or data derived from more complex models. Models of environmental processes that describe complex phenomena, or those that operate at small scales, are often highly parameterized.
This spreadsheet modeling example illustrates how to use spreadsheets to study and simulate physical phenomena, such as projectile motion, falling motion in the air, and the wave function of particles in a one-dimensional box.
The Biggest Spreadsheet Modeling Challenge
So, there we have it… 4 very different spreadsheet modeling examples. I bet there was at least 1 you’d never considered before. Let us know what spreadsheet models you use regularly in the comments below.
Now, whilst all the examples mentioned above are super cool, they all face the same MASSIVE challenge…
… The traditional tools used such as Excel or Google Sheets aren’t cut out for the job! And, it’s no surprise really. They were NEVER designed to be used with the large data sets of today’s world!
That’s why when SheetRocks was born, we built it up from first principles to take advantage of modern computer architecture. It combines the intuitiveness of a spreadsheet, the performance of a database, and the expressiveness of modern programming ecosystems. Therefore, it enables new data workflows that seamlessly cross over boundaries between teams and systems that are not possible with legacy data tools.
So, if you’re a spreadsheet modeler looking for a high-performance spreadsheet that will quickly perform complex analysis of large datasets, without a single line of code in sight, then sign up for free today.