As long as business intelligence has been around, the question of Microsoft Excel's role has existed.
This report from cfo.com makes it clear that, in the BPM arena, as much as it has been tried to woo users off of Excel, that vision has not been achieved. Financials analysts continually wander back to the control that Excel gives them.
Most every BI professional who has engaged users has encountered the directive of "just give me the data and I'll pull it into Excel." I certainly have. It makes it hard to establish common functionality in modern OLAP tools for the enterprise. Many users are missing out on more functionality due to the perceived loss of Excel functionality.
I would still argue that there's a place for Excel in the BI environment. I would also argue that there's a loss of efficiency when it's the only tool in use for BI. There's no easy answer here, but there is a balance point that needs to be achieved.
A couple of the pillars we use for establishing a BI program is some top-down direction for the use of the OLAP tools for primary access. The other is giving training to users on the tools so they can feel comfortable with them.
Posted August 27, 2005 11:35 AM
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