For years I have been arguing that the combination of Excel and Access is the strongest “story” in Microsoft Office – and the most ignored. I have used these two products together and separately to deliver solution after solution that are robust, cost-effective, flexible and frankly usually a dream to use. But I could not imagine using one without the other, and I am amazed at how that is an uncommon experience out there. I think maybe it is finally time that this be remedied, remedied because of significant efforts in other parts of the Microsoft Offering – specifically SharePoint and “The Cloud”.
Oh sure … anyone who knows me knows that I am somewhat cynical about all this “Cloud” noise. But perhaps it’s not cynicism as much as it is that dreaded “experience” thing that us grey-beards keep bringing up.
My opinion of the Cloud is GREAT !! Bring it on !! It’s a big opportunity for my clients, potential clients and for all of us out there trying to make a living delivering or supporting Excel and Access solutions. But once again Microsoft is caught in the old “Shiny Object” thing where they get excited about one technology (NT, IE, SQL Server, Networking, etc., etc.) and everything else suffers in the message until the thrill wears off in senior management.
Unfortunately this is a bad time for that habit. To promote “The Cloud” is wonderful, but where is it without a reason to go there? And what can “The Cloud” allow to happen that hasn’t happened before? A large part of the the answer can be found in Microsoft Office itself.
I believe that with the advent of SharePoint and now “The Cloud”, this is Excel and Access’s finest hour and biggest opportunity. With Excel Services and Access Services, PowerPivot, the availability of Doc libraries and Checkin and Checkout, the time is right for a complete re-think of how people are using Excel in their organizations …. and in my mind the result should be an acceptance that some of that rethink should lead them to Access, some to PowerPivot and some lead them to re-engineer their existing spreadsheets and bring them into the 21st century by using Excel for wat it’s now meant to be – namely a “Data-Centric Analytical Tool”.
I will be providing more on this topic going forward, but I’m VERY interested in anybody’s take on this (even you Harlan especially 🙂 )…