Budget constraints or a lack of alternative solutions often leads to Excel® being the best solution, or even the only solution, at the time. If it wasn’t for a range of pressures, including digitisation of businesses, it would still be the best solution. However, for any business wishing to be future compatible it isn’t a sustainable position.
The inefficiency and risk Excel® systems generate is lived with because the cost, pain and disruption of replacing it is too great to be contemplated or endured or no sensible replacement exists.
And then there is the fact that Applications are not a problem free solution and aren't the simple cure-all they are hoped to be. They come with their own structural restrictions and operational flaws. The large applications are often only partially implemented or adopted whilst the smaller ones often can’t do what is needed as they lack the variety of functions; they restrict information flow with their license models and they substitute one ‘version of the truth’ for another. What organisations really need is a Single Source of Understanding ™.
This perceived wisdom of single application solutions is at odds with the endless conversations about agility which demands an increased variety and flexibility of approach. Think bricks not poured concrete. The sound of people slapping their foreheads as the irony and cognitive dissonance sinks in should be deafening! Just look at how we all naturally behave by looking at your mobile: Has anyone got only one app?
This single application approach persists because of the volume of companies and consultancies making, promoting and selling vertical stack and single umbrella solution applications. The fashion is driven not by the wisdom of crowds but by the volume of advertising expenditure and share of voice of vested interests.
That leaves us, metaphorically, as the little boy (or girl) in the crowd shouting ‘the emperor has no clothes!’
Our research has shown that what organisations really want, when they dare to admit it, is for their systems created from Excel® workbooks to be transformed into an enterprise application: a landscape of Excel® connected to a dataset in the Cloud, to and from which information is exchanged. Preferably this is done ‘as if by magic’ in a way that avoids any the pain and disruption. That way they get their already tested design, which has been developed and moulded around their needs, and all the benefits of a digital enterprise system. Apart from in their dreams, this hasn’t been an option… until now. For example, with our Connected Intelligence™ platform, Excel® workbooks become a connected and ‘powered up’ system that is robust, scalable, auditable and efficient, with improved workflow efficiency and productivity with live insights and real-time reporting.
And with one extra step the whole data landscape can be integrated and provide a Single Source of Understanding™ and a platform fit for the 21st Century.
- James Bryant