Business Reporting For Today
I am always thinking a lot about the entire Business Reporting environment. In fact I have done this constantly now for about 40 years, actually. While I started as a “Real” person” in a “Real” industry doing a “Real” job (a commodity trader), I got seriously interested in databases and spreadsheets as soon as they became available on the PC waaaaaay back then – because they were so useful. I got so good at it right away that this tech BECAME my business and still is.
While analyzing the marketplace I have always made a point of drawing my own conclusions about things … an attitude that has frankly caused me more pain that satisfaction. At times I have been in sync with the prevailing winds of the biz, but in recent years more often I have taken my own tack. That’s what I’m doing again now I guess …
Here are a few initial thoughts:
So at this point in time my first “contrary” view is this:
Today Excel’s Client version is perfectly positioned to play a BIG role in Business Reporting both now and probably forever and I also believe it is time for people and organizations to take Microsoft Excel Client running on Microsoft Windows seriously. (Notice that this is the opposite of a negative comment about Microsoft BTW (just sayin’)
There are also HUGE arguments for running Excel behind the firewall any time.
This not only makes the files themselves more secure but even more important is the fact that the user/dev would have direct connectivity to company data sources directly from internal sources. The idea of a Data Gateway through the firewall to get back to company data sources just has never made it for me. If I was IT, I wouldn’t like this and if I did I would want to control it tightly.
This way I can still connect to Cloud data sources as I would from anywhere but if I can connect my Excel models to internal company data quickly and easily and securely behind the firewall I’m far more likely to use the advanced features Excel Client provides and get better Reports and results.
I will be talking in a later post about how to use XLPublish Add-In to publish ONLY the data that you need and at the appropriate level of granularity that is acceptable to the Cloud – but that is another “Story”.
I do not believe that Excel Client will go away any time sooner or later simply because there is no way that a browser-based version can provide even a fraction of the reliability, performance, connectivity and features in the product right now when run in Windows – and it never will.
The evidence of this fact to me is the fact that Microsoft despite trying to migrate Excel for over a decade and through either mis-direction or simply through technical difficulties (or a bit of both) the current version of Excel On-Line (and in their cross-platform strategy) simply will never be able to reproduce anywhere near the capabilities currently they are using daily in Windows. So in what way is that progress? Maybe it should be considered another product rather than a potential replacement eh? Hmmmm?
I also believe that the online Excel will continue to be ignored and Microsoft will have to ship a Windows version of Excel forever whether they like it or not. It is time for Microsoft to actually LIKE that fact rather than fighting it. To suggest that you should actually migrate to the on-line version that is so many times weaker than the client version is nothing but irresponsible.
So if I am right, I believe that it is time to get serious about the Excel Client. We all need to promote Best Practices that can be used by individuals and that will allow Organizations to get value from their models for years and years toward the future. We have to remember that business processes in mature businesses do NOT change all that often and probably shouldn’t if you have a good handle on your info (data) and good structured data sources and Excel models.
So with this series of posts I hope to lead us BACK to Excel not away from it. I believe that Excel can and should be the core of quality “Business Reporting” today and tomorrow.
I will be discussing how this can be achieved in future posts right here . To be continued….