Business Intelligence software companies have been working, since the 90s, to convince businesses that Microsoft Excel is flawed and wanting; that using an ‘old’ system that ‘comes with your computer’ is a huge faux pas if you want to be part of modern finance. This perception is so widely entrenched that using Excel, especially if you are a larger business or corporate, has become somewhat of a dirty little secret. And yet, here we are in 2016, where no one will invest in software unless it has an export to Excel function. Ironic isn’t it?
It would, however, suit these sorts of vendors very well if the perception that ‘no one uses Excel for data analytics’ were true. Since it is the most preferred and widely used platform amongst Financial Managers (FMs) and Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) for storing, organising, and manipulating data, it is also the best suited for complex data analytics.
Financial Managers are comfortable with Excel; it has over 3000 formulas, performs powerful calculations and the PowerPivot Excel add-in transforms it into a potent reporting and analytical tool. The biggest takeaway from all this, from FMs and CFOs, is that they can make changes to their reports themselves. They can manipulate the data without the need to brief and wait for IT or pay their external service provider for more development work to get the information they need to make important and informed decisions.
How to know which software is right for your business:
We get asked which software or product suites are better all the time, and the answer is always the same. The best product is the one you already know how to use and feel most comfortable using, and 9 times out of 10 it is Excel. Many CFOs and FMs are pressured into believing they need expensive software or custom development to get the results they need from their data. However this only leaves them with expensive licenses to software they do not feel comfortable using, that has 50 features they neither need nor understand despite having paid for them.
We often see these individuals continuing to export their data from these systems only to unpack them in Excel, where they feel most native. If it makes your life easier and streamlines your workflow, then why look anywhere else?
We love Excel too. Join the club!
We are so confident in the Microsoft Excel suite that we’ve based our business model on it. Using Excel, Powerpivot, and Power Query we have been able to save countless hours and thousands of rands for our clients, who continue to get incredible value from our solutions.
If you love Excel as much as we do, or you would like to sharpen up your skills, join us at our next training workshop in Johannesburg on the 6th of October. You understand your business, its data and its needs, now you can fully understand the technology that will help you achieve the maximum results. Simply email email@example.com to book a seat at our next workshop.