Is Your Team Excelling Beyond Excel?
TECHNOLOGY

Is Your Team Excelling Beyond Excel?

A T
Andrew Tolbert
Thursday April 20, 2017

In the decades since Microsoft released their original version of Excel as part of their Windows/Office suite, way back in 1985, it has grown to become the most widely used spreadsheet software for business. In a surprisingly short amount of time—less than a decade—the Excel platform overtook its main competing spreadsheet solution Lotus 1-2-3 (eventually driving it to the point of permanent extinction). One of the primary reasons for Excel's success was that, coupled with the increasingly common use of desktop computers in the late 80s/early 90s, this program made it possible for individuals, businesses, organizations, and industries to take direct control of their data in ways they had never been able in the past.

To this very day, many businesses are still using Excel… exporting data from their CRMs, ERPs, and/or marketing automation software. They then pour over the data manually, scrolling through line after line, with little to no visualization and zero drilldown ability, in order to carry out their data analyses and investigations. Not to mention the capacity for errors that comes with manual intervention at many stages. Ultimately, this method is simply not scalable any longer. In this world of "Big Data," a spreadsheet approach to data analysis is comparable to a modern business choosing to go with LAN modems (remember those maddening sounds?) instead of Ethernet or Wifi, making operations slower and less efficient than their competitors.

A spreadsheet approach to data analysis is comparable to a modern business choosing to go with LAN modems

In fact, a number of experts in various fields of tech and data science believe that the era of the Excel platform is already in its final days… some have even gone as far as to announce that spreadsheets are already dead.

That may be jumping the gun a bit, honestly. Excel certainly still has its uses for some things… such as data entry, scheduling, and calculations. However, it has become obsolete when it comes to the task of data analysis. To be blunt, the Excel platform really just should not be used as an analytics solution… because it was never really designed to be one in the first place.

A true analytics solution is capable of so much more than a spreadsheet based report, allowing users and businesses to accomplish a number of investigational tasks:

The ability to visualize relevant data for faster understanding - Filter out irrelevant or extraneous data - Drill down into data, giving access to everything from broad concepts to detailed outliers - Offer data in a real and trackable timeline (the quality of any data sent to Excel is dependent on the time/date it was exported) - Aside from the better investigations that can be done with a true analytics application, there are number of additional business and infrastructure benefits of not relying on spreadsheets.

Protection from inaccuracies of manual data entry - Governance of the data chain - Increased reliability by programming business logic rather than depending on embedded formulas and references - Collaboration - Automated alerting - Integrated data security

Needless to say, Excel has served the world well for over 30 years. However, the scale and levels of data in today's world are overwhelmingly massive—far too much for spreadsheet-based analysis. And the hard truth is that any business that is not taking full control of its data with a modern, scalable, integrated analytics solution will soon find itself struggling to catch up with the competition.

Mashey helps their customers go from Excel hell to a modern and scalable data analytics culture.

Contact us if you would like to discuss how we can help make you more successful with data analytics.

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