Performing a Fuzzy Lookup in Excel or Google Sheets

Many of us have to do matches of data in excel to update salesforce.com. Sometimes though that data is not exact. Inc. versus Incorporated. Or its John A Smith in one system versus John Smith in another.

Instead of manually searching and fixing it, Excel (for Windows only unfortunately) has an Add-In that does a nice job of fuzzy matching.

Here is the link.

After installing the add-in into excel the steps to use it are pretty basic and the readme file contained within the setup is incredibly comprehensive.

UPDATE: We found an Add-on to allow you to do something similar in Google Sheets:

Google Sheets Add-on

What is Fuzzy Matching?

Lets say I have a data set with the following names:

  • John Smith
  • Jane Doe
  • Ronald P. Moore

And I have another data set with the following names:

  • John R Smith
  • Janealicious Doe
  • Ron Moore

In a standard pattern match, these data sets would never line up if we were using the names to match. Well a fuzzy match tool will break down the names into their basic components and try to match it all together. Is it 100% perfect and reliable? No probably not, but it can save a dramatic quantity of time especially if you know there are other data points that can be used as validators.

Could be a great timesaver for you if you’re playing with data.

Why I am NOT Speaking at Dreamforce

Wait.. What?!

Normally these posts are all about “Come and listen to me speak at xxxxx!” Or “I’m rad and will educate you. My session will rock.”

I’ve been fortunate to speak at quite a number of Dreamforce events. I think I’ve spoken at one session for, at least,  the past 6-7 years and also attended quite a few because of the Salesforce MVP program. Here are the daft realities:
• There will literally be over a 1,500 sessions this year.
• With very few exceptions, ALL will blow your mind.
• With the Agenda Builder now live, most will be sold out quickly. (Hint, hint, get there early)

These are wonderful facts and demonstrate the power of this event. Many first timers, and even us seasoned and jaded veterans, walk away from those days ready to make amazing changes in our organization and how we use the tool.

The MVP crowd is notorious for wanting to help and deliver these sessions. It’s not unusual for an MVP to have 3, 4, or even 6 sessions at a Dreamforce. For many of us, it’s how we are “fed” to provide better help for all. And I’m not complaining about that. Quite the opposite. Like I said above, sessions are typically brilliant.

The Challenge of Dreamforce

But for whatever purpose Dreamforce sessions typically hover on two tracks:
• I’m a new or intermediate admin trying to solve something
• I’m a developer who is working on the platform

I have desired more clearly defined skill sets and levels for session abstracts. As an admin with 15 years of experience, I don’t need a formula session or “this is what the Process Builder can do”. I’m also not going to immediately utilize how to use Angular JS in a Heroku environment.

Let me use an analogy to help with this. I don’t need to take a beginning drivers course every year and I certainly cannot immediately use a course titled “Extreme Off-roading and Water Fording”. While those courses would be a bucket load of fun, I can’t apply them on an everyday basis during my commute.

All of these are awesome sessions but they don’t feed people like me. At some point I hope Salesforce starts to realize the above and helps us out. Ultimately the benefit of Dreamforce is relevancy.

But that’s another soapbox moment.

So Why are You Not Speaking Again?

The real reason I’m not speaking this year is simply that our ecosystem is astounding. Have you ever stopped and considered the vastly different industries and situations Salesforce customers are participating in? These people have experience to share and in the end the purpose of these days is not to show yourself off, but instead to learn from others. Walking away with some new tricks and skills that would have be next to impossible to learn in any other place.

It’s time for some new voices. I challenge fellow MVP’s to find those new voices and promote them, instead of speaking themselves.  It’s time for us to be the leaders and not the creators of everything under the sun.

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