Ditching Spreadsheets – Avoiding Excel Hell
Computerworld had an excellent story on why some companies are ditching Microsoft Excel. It’s a great piece that looks at the value of Excel – and how that value has over-extended itself to the point that it’s being used in conjunction with almost any business process. As John Burke of Nemertes Research says in the article, Excel is considered the “Swiss Army knife of ready data analysis, but there are limits as to how far it can go.”
I think we’ve all seen this at some point. Need product data? Put it in Excel. Need to keep track of HR on-boarding? Put it in Excel. Its usage is ubiquitous in the enterprise – but is it the tool you need to do the job right?
A Swiss Army knife is a great tool to have when the task before you is simple – but what if you needed to cut down a tree? You can still do it with a Swiss army knife, but wouldn’t it be better to use a saw? This is the same mentality organizations face with Excel – you can use it for almost anything, but it doesn’t mean it’ll be easy or work well.
The biggest problem Excel creates is that it makes complex business processes even more complex and unwieldy – it’s simply not agile enough to keep up with the speed of today’s business. And while Microsoft is hard at work to add a few more bells and whistles, the answer doesn’t lie in new features; the answer starts and ends with streamlining workflows and business process – not simply delivering new analytic features.
Business users need the freedom to adopt applications that provide control over data, enforce compliance and help them streamline the workflows that cause data stagnation – this is when business users and related processes become paralyzed by technology and data limitations.
I believe that we’ll see more organizations migrate away from Excel and look for solutions that can do a better job of enforcing compliance and ensuring better visibility to critical workflow processes.
Tags: BPM, BPM tools, business process management, ComputerWorld, Form Automation Category, forms software, procedure software, process software, Workflow, workflow automation, Workflow Software Category
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