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using excel in business intelligence

Started by Rokeya, September 17, 2018, 02:58:24 PM

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Excel is pervasive in businesses, with a probably very low estimate of a couple of hundred million users around the world.  Countless companies run some part of their reporting, analytics or planning systems using spreadsheets. For this good reason Excel is regarded as the most commonly used Business Intelligence tool, even if it's single workbook workup.  Still, horror stories abound about error-ridden spreadsheet data, from the "London whale" debacle to an influential paper by two Yale economists about debt-to-GDP ratios.

But this post is not about Excel's failures, whether in stray spreadsheet mode or as a component within a Business Intelligence implementation. Because by now, with the right framework in place—for example, with Microsoft's SharePoint Server 2013  or with an analytical database like PowerOLAP—there's no reason not to use the everyday spreadsheet as an essential component in a B.I. rollout. That's especially the case if Excel is the preferred front end for an intended user group, like the Finance team.

The subject here might better be described as making a complementary B.I. front end choice, and not becoming a victim to Excel's many successes as a solution! After all, if spreadsheets are so commonly used, and can be utilized to great (and secure) effect, why not always default to Excel as a front end?  Excel can make impressive charts and graphs; there's the ability to capture data in Excel; and users can even perform "surface-layer calculations" using the product's limitless bag of tools and tricks.

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