Is Excel outpacing business intelligence?

There are many business software systems on the marketplace that claim to be the evolution of older systems like Microsoft Excel. The idea is that spreadsheets are the systems of the past and business intelligence (BI) systems like enterprise resource planning software have moved past them in terms of functionality. However, Microsoft is not going to take this laying down.

A recent article from SQLMag makes the case that Excel could be the next “killer business intelligence application.” The reason is that Excel is still the most specific requirement in contemporary analytic tool selections. It is comfortable, flexible and has been empowered by the release of Microsoft Office 365 Excel Power BI add-ins.

A killer app is something that takes the marketplace by storm. Excel was a killer app in the 1990s when it became the king of the spreadsheet mountain. However, with new systems taking hold, some might presume that Excel is on the way out.

The data show a different story. A Forrester survey found that even companies that have adopted other software systems like Google Docs are still using Excel. This happens because of employee needs, resistance to change and technical compatibility issues with other systems. Excel remains the dominant form of business decision-making and it is not something that is easy to get away from.

“Quite a few data discovery and BI vendors advertise anti-Excel messaging in one way, shape, or form,” the article reads. “Since Excel is where most analytic tasks are performed today, if Microsoft makes the right investment decisions and quickly executes, popular data discovery applications are most at-risk and they know it. Reviewing an admittedly subjective list of top requested data discovery tool capabilities, Excel Power BI already arguably meets or exceeds more than half of them and rapid releases new features monthly.”

The article concludes that this is an interesting time for business intelligence applications, as Excel continues to evolve through Microsoft Office 365, Excel Power BI and BI applications. Going into the future, this innovation will continue, and Excel is positioning itself to be at the front of the pack.

With the help of an Excel consulting firm, any company will be able to embrace these future changes effectively. BI solutions are dramatically impacting business software solutions and companies that stay abreast of the situation will be able to stay ahead of the curve.