How To Work Beyond Excel Limitations?
In 2017, The Wall Street Journal published an article that underestimated the opportunities in Excel. Finance chiefs do not consider it the best option for working with large amounts of data. Moreover, they admit that the software causes errors because of the separation from other systems. In fact, the company is able to improve its efficiency and go beyond Excel limitations in two ways.
First of all, the company can work with Excel formulas by linking them to databases. The users can return values from documents containing billions of megabytes. Secondly, they can work without any limitations in any number or type of sources. For example, the Excel formula can return data that originally came from ERPs, currencies, budgets, and forecast generated in Excel.
Many of these activities happened 20 years ago while, today, with the technological improvement the company can leverage significantly the power of Excel. One of the solutions is the hub-and-spoke design where the formulas are live-linked to an Excel database.
How Hub-and-spoke Solves Excel Problems?
- Importing and Exporting Data. The company wants the employees to focus on what the data is telling and not on importing/ exporting the information. Therefore, an Excel-friendly database is the main idea that facilitates the reporting and analysis. For example, an Excel user from the UK can import the data and define the performance measurements by using formulas. Then, another manager from California displays the trends by exporting the data.
- Collaboration. Older versions of Excel did not allow collaboration between the users at the same time. Nowadays, things have changed, the users are able to share real-time data and make necessary updates. For a company with multiple geographical locations, it will be very useful. It allows an office manager to view the financial audit created by an employee from a different office.
- Enhanced Excel Power. Twenty years ago the clients were able to compare the data from the two systems (SAP and OLAP cube) to ensure the right setup. With Olation, the worksheets can be analyzed virtually from any source. Besides that, the users can connect Excel formulas to any external sources (trends, benchmarks, financial results).
- Automatic Updates. Excel can always be updated automatically, which means the live links to the data decreases the errors.
What Is the Future for Excel?
With technological advancement, Excel software is getting smarter and develops more features to enhance the working process. It can automatically identify a list of store names that allows you to extract information about its location or products.
More than that, Excel is trying to to find the linkage between the data you provide rather than identifying the format. Microsoft is even willing to integrate Artificial Intelligence into Excel to keep up with the era of digital disruption. In conclusion, Excel limitations are a matter of past, therefore, by enhancing it with hub-and-spoke design will make it even more powerful.