Excel Telecom Tricks – Normalization

An objective common to almost every Telecoms activity you’ll do in your career is to share your work with others. Sharing in this sense can take many forms:

Excel Telecom Tricks
Excel Telecom Tricks
  • Document steps taken.
  • Identify a problem.
  • Teach a task to others.
  • Reveal a hidden truth.
  • Propose another plan.
  • Brainstorm fiercely.

The context for each of these tasks is Telecoms. But the actual process might seem only distantly related to the courses you took and theories they taught. Yet it is this process of data collection, manipulation, analysis, and, most importantly, presentation and sharing, which is at the very core of Telecoms.

Communicating your ideas so that others can understand them is a huge challenge. The technological skills and comprehension of your audience can be so unpredictable. Their goals and objectives may differ wildly from your own. So to achieve your goals and objectives, it’s up to you to communicate them in a way which is suitable for your audience.

There are entire courses taught on data presentation and visualization. It’s a big topic with lots of angles. In this article, I’ll discuss a very narrow technique from the field. It’s called “normalization”. Normalization is a way to present data so that it’s meaning or implications are more clear. I’ll show you several approaches for using Excel to normalize your data. Continue reading “Excel Telecom Tricks – Normalization”

Excel Telecom Tricks – Seasonality

We make lots of reports in Telecoms.  Telecoms seems to be built on reports. Reports and acronyms.  Reports for every piece of equipment, for every circuit, for every service, for every product.  We make reports for forecasting, budgeting, both CapEx and OpEx, analyses, models.  Tons of reports.  Reports of all the reports.

Excel Telecom Tricks
Excel Telecom Tricks

One of the most common types of a report in Telecoms is a seasonality report.  What is Seasonality?

It’s easy to find examples of seasonality. Here are some:

  • The traffic Busy Hour is an example of daily seasonality.  A graph of traffic load looks pretty much the same day by day.
  • Weekend data traffic might be higher than weekdays because people have more time to stream movies.  This is weekly seasonality
  • Government or military employees might cause revenue seasonality by buying more phones and prepaid service when they get paid on the 1st and 15th every month.  This is monthly seasonality
  • Some US carriers experience a boom in Smartphone sales in March-April-May when people receive their government tax refund.  That’s a form of yearly seasonality.

Let’s explore seasonality by taking a closer look at a Busy Hour report. Continue reading “Excel Telecom Tricks – Seasonality”

Excel Telecom Tricks – Synthetic Fields

With any tool you use frequently to solve many problems, there’s sure to be lots of tricks and shortcuts that can make your job so much easier.  Microsoft Excel is one of those tools for Telecoms, and there certainly are tricks and shortcuts.  Learning them will help you become more proficient with Excel, and give you a pocketful of shortcuts for doing real work quickly.

Excel Telecom Tricks
Excel Telecom Tricks

This will do more than simply save your time.  It allows you to derive insights and identify opportunities.  You can actually start to understand what the data mean.

A common problem in Telecoms is that machine-generated raw data isn’t in the format you want.  Or maybe there is data missing which is required to complete your analysis.

In this article, I’ll show you a technique I call Synthetic Fields.  Synthetic fields allow you to modify data, or add data related to the raw data.  Often Synthetic Fields are used to provide additional ways for Pivot Tables to summarize your data.  This helps when you want to automate your Dashboards and recurring reports. Continue reading “Excel Telecom Tricks – Synthetic Fields”

Automate Telecoms Dashboard Dates

Here’s a challenge we face all the time in Telecoms: we need a list of the most recent months of data in a table.  For example, a Telecoms Dashboard, which might show data for each of the most recent 12 months.  

For example, your Dashboard for May 2018 might show data from May-18, April-18, March-18, etc., all the way back to June of 2017.  Those are the most recent 12 months.

Excel Telecom Tricks
Excel Telecom Tricks

A typical Telecoms Dashboard shows one or more Key Performance Indicators (KPI) by month for each of the last 12 months.  

Using the most recent 12 months is quite common in many industries. So common, in fact, that is has a special name: Trailing Twelve Months, often abbreviated TTM.  Ideally, the Trailing Twelve Months (TTM) are re-calculated as soon as you add data.  That is, if you automate it.

In this article, I’ll show you how to set that up.  Like so many things in Excel, it’s surprisingly simple.  It’s more work to explain it than to actually do it.  But it’s worth figuring it out.  It’s a big part of automating your Dashboards. Continue reading “Automate Telecoms Dashboard Dates”

What’s Abstract About Excel?

As a Telecoms Technical manager, your job is often about speed.  Make a report faster. Prepare a presentation faster.  Forecast usage faster.  Analyze a problem faster.  Create a budget faster.  See the pattern?

Excel Telecom Tricks
Excel Telecom Tricks

Youʼll use Excel to create models in all these examples; make assumptions and build them into those models.  Often, there will be several use cases for you to model.

How do you do that?  What’s your style?  Do you work on one case to completion, then copy/ paste to start the next case?

If you want to impress your boss and propel your career, learning how to properly model different use cases is an indispensable technique.  A key trick to effectively modeling different use cases is called Abstraction.  Abstraction is also an important trick for automating your dashboards and recurring reports.

Read on to learn how to add abstraction to your models.  Iʼll show you 3 techniques for using abstraction.  And Iʼll do it by building on another Excel Telecom Trick which I showed you earlier, the 2-Color Chart SeriesContinue reading “What’s Abstract About Excel?”

Excel Telecom Tricks – 2-Color Series

In Telecoms we deal with data.  Lots of data.  Tasks such as budgeting, analyzing, reporting and forecasting use this data. This data buries your desk.  You yourself might actually be stuffed with data. 

Excel Telecom Tricks
Excel Telecom Tricks

We gorge on data and starve for information.

Amidst all this data is a concerted search for information.  Ferreting out information and deriving insight from all this data is what you must do as a Telecoms Manager.  

In this article, I’ll show you a trick for revealing that information.  Often in Telecoms and in other disciplines, you want to highlight specific values in a chart.  A good example is a chart of Busy Hour Performance.  Continue reading “Excel Telecom Tricks – 2-Color Series”

SpaceX Marketing Soars on Falcon Heavy

I cried this morning when I watched the live video stream of the launch of Falcon Heavy. As an Engineer, I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of all the work and planning and preparation and testing and science and engineering and everything that went into that entire project to make that launch a success.

Love a Career in Telecoms

Beyond the success of the launch itself, the proper separation of the two Falcon 9 side boosters, continued operation of the Main booster, the placement of the capsule into proper orbit, everything just worked so well. When the two side boosters returned and landed back at Cape Canaveral, within less than one second of each other, I just shook my head in amazement and bawled with more joy. Continue reading “SpaceX Marketing Soars on Falcon Heavy”

By Request – 5G Operator and Consumer Roles

I have on my website a link for people to submit writing topics for me.

Articles my Readers asked me to write
Articles my Readers asked me to write

Responding to readers requests helps me stay focused on things which interest my readers and also encourages me to write about things I might otherwise never get round to. For these reasons, I’m always grateful to my reader when they submit a question.

The Question

Reader Sean W. recently asked this question:

Will Mobile Operators make the investments in 5G required to meet consumer price points?

Continue reading “By Request – 5G Operator and Consumer Roles”

Find the Average of Non-Zero Values

I’ve been working on the BTS Project Tracker dashboard. I’ve found another capability that I needed to learn before I can complete the dashboard.  I need to find the average of non-zero values.

Excel Telecom Tricks

I’m trying to track incomplete tasks whose duration exceeds the average duration for that task.

The problem arises when calculating the average interval required to complete each task.  I want to exclude any incomplete BTS-task from the calculation of the average interval.

To say that another way, the average interval should be based upon only those sites for which that task is completed already. Continue reading “Find the Average of Non-Zero Values”

Now is Your Time to Win – David Dean

David Dean was a long-time salesman with a very successful track record.  He began his sales career selling books for the Southwestern company during summer recess while attending university.

Books for building your character and career
Books for building your character and career

This book is in the genre of motivational or self-help.

The book chronicles his sales efforts during several of those summers and he uses his own experiences to illustrate 7 principles which he believes are important to success in any endeavor.  These little vignettes tie the book together and give it a helpful air of storytelling. Continue reading “Now is Your Time to Win – David Dean”