Friday, 11 March 2016

When Excel. When Not Excel.

Excel is rather like a domestic lawnmower. A powerful tool for use in personal situations. Like mowing the lawn, or using pivot tables for a one-off analysis of data.

But would you use your lawnmower to mow a playing field?  Well you could, but it would take you a long time. You might do it once.

Or you could ask your colleagues who have lawnmowers to come and help. But it would be very difficult to make sure all the field was cut, and inevitably there would be much overlap. A lot of expensive people taking a lot of time to do an iffy job.

More likely you would go and buy a larger mower designed for the job.

That’s just like using Excel in any multi-user situation.

Why do people use Excel when a properly-designed multi-user system would be far more effective?  People already have Excel  on their PCs, but that doesn’t make it the right tool.

Here’s a more detailed assessment of the pros and cons of Excel for multi-user budgeting.  Similar principles apply to other business applications.

Indeed if you are using Excel in any “multiple” situation, it’s worth considering an alternative system:
  • Multi-user
  • Multiple linked spreadsheets
  • Multi-currency
  • Multi-dimensional (multiple products, entities, departments etc)

So why do people use Excel in such situations when more appropriate solutions are available?