Why learn a new BI tool when I already know Excel?

You know Excel.  You know how to manipulate data in a workbook to calculate the results you need.  You know how to create Excel formulas, and you know how to use at least several of the many powerful functions available in Excel.

But you also need to be able to connect with a database, and several people in your organization need to share data… and Excel alone falls a bit short.  Fortunately the last couple of decades have produced a plethora of options that attack these issues in a variety of ways.  There are products that allow users to “slice and dice” their data, and there are products that focus on producing beautiful visual representations of your data.

The primary downside of these solutions, however, is their high cost.  No, I’m not necessarily referring to their price tags (although some options have price tags similar to those of exotic sports cars), but rather the time investment required.  Even a “simple” database solution like Microsoft Access, Excel’s own Microsoft Office “suitemate”, requires a significant time investment to put into practice, and it’s common that would-be users find the necessary time investment to be too significant to justify its benefits, and those users return to using oversized Excel workbooks instead.  Even those who stick with using Access, however, often find its features lacking and the transfer of data back and forth with Excel to be limited and sometimes clumsy.

Meanwhile, the more powerful solutions on the market generally require defining calculation scripts and rollup hierarchies using the software’s own proprietary methodologies.  Many calculation script options bear enough similarity to Excel formulas and functions to beg the question: “Why do I need to learn a new proprietary method of formula writing when I already know Excel???”

Furthermore, what generally happens in practice in an organization is that a limited number of specialists in that particular software product are the only ones who have the skills and time available to invest in learning the proprietary product at a level that meets or exceeds the Excel knowledge of a moderately strong Excel user.  As a result, those specialists become the gatekeepers of not only the software product but also of the data it contains, and even just a simple change of a formula used for a certain metric (something that would take only a matter of seconds if done in Excel), frequently involves several people.  The actual cost to the organization now becomes exponential.

xOverTime provides an easy-to-use cost effective solution that enables users to store their Excel data in a cloud-based database and selectively and securely share data with other users.  Databases are designed and managed in Excel workbooks.  If you know how to create or edit a formula in a cell in Excel, then you already know how to create or edit a calculated value in your database.

To learn more about how xOverTime can bring database capabilities to your Excel based business solutions to improve data governance and secure collaboration, contact us.

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