The Disadvantages of Minitab

By Warren Davies

Minitab is a powerful program, but does have some disadvantages compared to competing products.
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A number of computer packages can help researchers analyze data. Each of these programs has its own niche in the market, as well as its own advantages and weaknesses. Minitab is a versatile statistics package that is cheaper and requires less disk space than its heavy-weight competitors like SPSS and SAS. However, this comes at a cost, and Minitab is out-performed by its rivals in a number of areas.

Range of Functions

The range of statistical analyses that Minitab can perform straight after installation is not as wide as in other packages such as SPSS and SAS. This means that for applied research fields with specialized or more rarely used techniques, such as economics or bioinformatics, Mintab is not the ideal choice because such analyses would have to be programmed into Minitab manually using the macro system. Although the macro language is powerful, this is time-consuming for complex procedures.

Ease of Use

Although Minitab is generally considered easy to use, and operates through an interface that is intuitive to anyone familiar with other statistics packages, it does suffer from some drawbacks in this area. Like the SPSS data view, the worksheet window in Minitab uses a fixed structure that is more difficult to manipulate than in spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel. Also, Minitab has poor compatibility with other statistics programs, making file imports more difficult.

Popularity in Industry

According to Christine Currie and Vesna Perisic, writing for MSOR Connections, one disadvantage of Minitab is that it is not as widely used in industry as other packages. This means that businesses that use Minitab as their primary analysis package are more likely to come across compatibility issues when using data from outside sources. This makes Minitab a poor choice for organizations that may need to combine data from multiple sources, such as in ETL processes.

Weak Mathematics Features

Minitab is primarily a statistical analysis package, and as such is a weaker choice for pure mathematical uses, with less ability to perform mathematical and numerical analyses, at least not without the use of custom macros. Similar packages outperform Minitab in this area. Think of Minitab as a statistics package with some mathematics capability, while the reverse can be said of MatLab and other dedicated mathematics programs.