Have you ever wondered the different ways of managing and taking decisions?
I believe that these responsibilities require not only business acumen accumulated by the years, but also objective facts of the current situations. An entrepreneur should start a company after spending time calculating potential benefits based on market studies and a business plan. An organization should compute the realistic ROI before investing in human resources or material. And these kinds of data crunching are usually done thanks to one awesome tool that did not evolve that much in many years : Microsoft Excel.
We all love Excel, but..
People have a love/hate relationship with Excel. On one hand, it allows to beautifully and easily format a report or spreadsheet, but on the other one tiny mistake in a formula might have a huge consequence. I use myself Excel on a daily basis, but only for quick calculation or data manipulation. However when I want to generate recurrent reports and update in real-time a dashboard, I prefer to work with dedicated business intelligence offering the following three features.
Whether it is on a daily basis or for the long term, managers should take decisions based on objective facts whenever possible.
It is important for managers to be able to react quickly to daily challenges.
It shouldn't require a rocket science degree in order to generate indicative measures.
Isn't Excel providing these kinds of features?
And they answer is : they do, but to a certain extent.
It is easy to encode mistakes in Excel
Excel can obviously describe a situation in the shape of a table or graph, but it is not necessarily based on objective facts since anyone can input wrong data or worse manipulate the data. Sometimes different versions of Excel or language settings might affect the data quality unvoluntarily.
It is flexible, but not always fast
It might also be super easy to adapt the layout in Excel. However when it comes to build a new report, either you copy an existing report and you adapt it by increasing the chances of mistakes, either you start from scratch and it takes longer to achieve the final results.
Business intelligence solutions
You might have heard about solutions such as QlikView, Tableau or Microsoft PowerBI. These are built to look like Excel in order to get quicker familiarized with the business intelligence world and without setting up a ton of parameters. There isn't any added value to use these like you are using Excel. Instead the real power of these tools relies in their automation capabilities.
Automatic data input
Managers shouldn't spend time encoding and correcting data. In our more and more digitalized world, data is most probably already stored in a database. It is more a matter of connecting once and for all that database to a business intelligence tool and leave this fastidious and repetitive work to a machine that will do it faster and better than any humans.
You probably use the same kind of formulas in multiple reports. Therefore either you need to retype a formula in new reports, either you need to find the formula in an existing report and copy it to the new one. Wouldn't it be better to define once and for all these formulas and just drag and drop them whenever needed?
Wouldn't it be more comfortable that a report is automatically generated and accessible in the web or on your mailbox? You will just need to analyze the figures and spend time taking better decisions.
Today new generation of tools help any managers to generate objective facts for taking better decisions faster. These tools are not meant to replace Excel, but to work complimentarily with it. As such these tools do not differ from Excel when using the very basic function. However their real power comes when automations (input, formula, refresh) are implemented.
Do not hesitate to contact us audit whether a business intelligence solution will make sense in your organization.