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MAY 2021: Why Do We Need This? We Already Have Excel!

Publication date: 5 May 2021

When equipped with accurate data, companies are able to make proper, evidence-based decisions, analyze their customer behavior, and predict possible outcomes in the future. The only problem with data? There is a lot of it. According to HubSpot’s 2016 Data & Analytics Survey, an average company manages 162.9TB of data. On the other hand, an average enterprise has 347.56TB of data, seven times as much data as the average SMB with 47.81TB.

In addition to collecting the data, companies also need to find the right way to store and manage it to enable faster and better decision-making.

A great deal of decisions-makers rely on Excel and don’t plan to change it, believing that it is already helping them to do “Big Data”. Every now and then, companies hold meetings to agree on what type of “new” data solution they should use. For most, Excel is still the king – even though other dedicated, full-blown BI solutions exist.

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Excel vs. Dedicated BI Tools

Truth be told, Microsoft Excel is a force to be reckoned with. Taking its legacy adoption into account, the powerful tool has more than half a billion users and it has been a go-to choice for more than two decades when it comes to data analysis and visualization. So, in the aforementioned meetings where new BI tools get pitched, the question often arises, “Why do we need this? We already have Excel!”

And they’re right – sort of…

Excel is more than capable of simply storing and viewing data. It offers decent support for organizing, manipulating, and sharing data. However, the more data is generated, the more difficult it becomes to sort and analyze it in dozens of spreadsheets. Luckily, new technologies – Business Intelligence (BI) tools like Qlik, Jedox, or TRUECHART – are there to make these tasks easier than ever before.

Here are three reasons why dedicated BI tools are more “worthy” than Excel.

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Capacity

The greatest disadvantage of Excel is that it cannot handle vast amounts of data. When opening large files with tons of rows, Excel can occassionally become slow or even display an error message. For that reason, users are forced to split the main file into several smaller files. Doing so may affect data analysis, making it slower and, in some cases, even less accurate.

BI tools, on the other hand, are fully equipped to handle large volumes of data effortlessly. In general, BI tools allow users to open large files quickly, have a full overview of data from one location, and combine and merge different data sets with ease – even if that means compiling data from multiple sources across departments of a company.

Automation of Tasks

What gives BI tools an advantage over Excel is that they can automatically collect data from various sources. Automation eliminates the need for human intervention but also errors, which frequently occur when doing data analysis in Excel. The more complex the spreadsheets are, the rate of errors increases, and such mistakes can lead to financial loss.

Most BI tools also have built-in functionalities which will alert the user on a set timely basis to review and optimize their setup, be it at a specific hour, date, or after a certain threshold has been reached “within” the data. This is just the tip of the iceberg, of course. Such functionalities can go way deeper…

Collaboration

Excel is a tool built for individual use, and it lacks multi-user capabilities. This makes it very difficult for employees and departments to share the work they do. Google Sheets is an option, where multiple users can collaborate in the Cloud – but Google Sheets has to be used on top of Excel, already making it two different solutions (a.k.a. one too many).

With tools like TRUECHART and KPI-CHAT, collaboration becomes a breeze, as multiple employees can simultaneously work on the same report and make changes in real-time. These tools can integrate into almost any other BI solution and enable users to pick any specific data point – no matter how deep inside the millions of data fields – comment on it, lead real-time chats about it, and then proceed about their day as soon as the discussion’s over, leaving all data and automation queries perfectly in-tact.

Is your company still using Excel for data analysis? It’s time to make an upgrade! From KPI identification and planning to implementing future-proof data solutions, HICO-Group creates state-of-the-art BI concepts customized to meet the needs of your business and market.


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