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What is Minitab - Introduction, Benefits, Features
For most people, the first tool or software they learn and use for the purpose of data analysis is Microsoft Excel. Microsoft Excel is a part of the wider umbrella of professional software released by Microsoft under the Office brand. While Microsoft Excel’s first release was in 1987, Minitab’s first release came 15 years prior in 1972. However, despite having the first-mover advantage, Minitab did not become a user favorite as Microsoft Excel did.
Most part of Microsoft Excel’s outstanding success can be attributed to the fact that most computers run on Microsoft Windows. However, Minitab too has some aspects which make it out of the box. So, let’s dive into it, in the article ahead.
Introduction to Minitab
Minitab was developed by a group of researchers at the Pennsylvania State University. The researchers, namely, Barbara F. Ryan, Thomas A. Ryan, Jr., and Brian L. Joiner developed the software in partnership with Triola Statistics Company. While it started out as a simple statistics analysis program/package, it has since then developed into a trusted software used by Six Sigma professionals.
Six Sigma professionals use Minitab for the analysis and interpretation of data that aid in business processes and operations. The simplified user interface of Minitab makes it very user-friendly in comparison to other similar software, such as Microsoft Excel.
The user-friendly nature of Minitab is by far its biggest advantage and benefit. Minitab has been built with the intention of keeping things simple for the user, while at the same time being efficient in the backend.
Minitab can be used to process large amounts of data, specifically statistical data, and easily create graphs from that data. No additional calculations are required for presenting the data in form of graphs. On the other hand, MS Excel can be used to compile and organize large data but its ability to sort them in graphs requires additional calculations, which makes the process much more complex.
Minitab allows for a very clean and organized interface. That is particularly useful when handling large amounts of data sets as well as numerous forms and types of graphical representations of those data sets.
Minitab offers a large array of data visualization and representation options. These options are very useful for professionals working in data analysis, such as statisticians, or other similar professions.
It offers versatility in terms of formats. By that, we mean Minitab files can be exported to a number of different formats which can then be used for either presentation purposes, or for sharing with co-workers and colleagues. This versatility is very helpful in professional settings.
The Basic Statistics feature of Minitab provides tools that can be used by the user for the analysis of statistical data. It provides tools such as descriptive statistics, correlation analysis, regression analysis, and many more. The same tool can also be used for graphical representation of the user’s data, however only with basic graphs and charts.
The Graphics tool of Minitab allows users to easily put their data into graphical forms such as bar charts, scatterplots, box plots, histograms, and other similar graphs. These are very helpful when working with large sets of data.
The Regression feature in Minitab can be used to analyze multiple variables and the relationship between each of those variables. It is helpful for researchers and statisticians who want to find out the relationship between the variables dependent on an independent set of variables. Minitab offers multiple options in the regression tool such as linear, non-linear, ordinal, and nominal. For better understanding, regression analysis is finding and evaluating the outcome for a situation wherein there are multiple variables that depend on a single, fixed variable.
Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)
The Analysis of Variance Tool is used by Minitab users to find the variance, that is differences, between different sets of data. Finding variance is possible in other software as well however the usage of Minitab's Analysis of Variance tool makes it an easy, one-tap method to find those variances.
Statistical Process Control
Statistical Process Control is an essential part of dealing with large datasets, as it is used for controlling quality and preventing errors and mishaps. The tool is used in Minitab for that very purpose - to use techniques and methods of statistics to control the workings of a process, and examine if outcomes are clean or contaminated.
Measurement System Analysis
Similar to the Statistical Process Control, the Measurement System Analysis tool is also a feature for controlling quality. This tool provides a secondary check on processes. This is done as it quality checks measurement systems for errors, and whether those measurement systems themselves are able to find errors in the processes. Minitab offers users a one-tap solution for carrying out a Measurement System Analysis thus making it very easy to analyze the data at hand.
Design of Experimentations
The Design of Experimentations (DOE) tool is a continuation of the other quality control and process evaluation tools that Minitab offers. It allows the user to check the interrelation between different sets of variables, and further, how those variables and their interrelations affect the final product. This is extremely necessary for high-quality requirement settings as product quality cannot be compromised. Identifying crucial variables in the process, optimizing the settings of the process, and reducing the variations in that process - allow for greater quality of the end product.
Minitab is a brilliant tool for people looking to analyze data, especially large sets of data, without any complicated formulae or requiring too much training to learn the software itself. The statistical analysis software works superbly well for professionals working with data, however, it may not be the best fit for using at home for creating spreadsheets - for usages similar to the latter, you’d best use Microsoft Excel.
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