Excel as a Business Intelligence front end – Hero or Villain

Having being a supplier of Business Intelligence and reporting solutions for small and medium sized companies for most of the last decade, I feel there are a lot of interesting trends, discoveries and behaviors to share both from a customer and a vendor perspective.

This week let’s take a look at Excel as a Business Intelligence front end – Hero or Villian? There are a lot of detractors out there who have very strong views about how bad Spreadsheet chaos is for an organization, and that it should be avoided at all costs. I call it loose Excel spreadsheet use, and yes, it should be avoided where possible.

So what is the solution? Get rid of Excel use in the organization? Replace these processes with expensive proprietary high end costly technology? Find better and more structured ways to share data in Excel?

In my view, there is no “one fits all” solution. What I can confidently say, is that in the small and mid sized markets, where price and specialist skills are an issue, there is definitely a preference for leveraging existing skills (Excel) and eliminating loose spreadsheet use before investing large sums of cash in proprietary technology.

Excel is here to stay and Microsoft continue to invest in powerful features to help end uses at the front end, so lets make sure we leverage this in the solutions we provide for is market segment. Next week we’ll explore I’m more details how we accomplish this.