Why Existing Approaches Fail

There is absolutely no shortage whatsover of commercially available Management Reporting and Business Intelligence Software solutions that could meet the needs of your organisation.

With so much choice, power and functionality to consider, you may be forgiven for asking the obvious question,

"so why is the number one reporting tool of choice for any size of organisation still Microsoft's Excel ? "

It's dangerous, it's insecure, it's error prone, it's dependent on scarce skilled business resources !

These are just some of the issues that diligent IT Departments would have us believe (and to be honest, rightly so !!).

However, Excel is used by between 120-400 million users (depending on different research companies). Either way, the sum of ALL the other vendors in the Management Reporting and Business Intelligence vendor space added together would not get even close to Excel's usage, so we guess it must be doing something right ?

 

Reporting & Business Intelligence Tools

Let's first look at the alternatives to Excel. Here's a quick list :

  • Business Intelligence Tools (Cognos, Business Objects, Hyperion, MicroStrategy etc)
  • Dashboarding Software (Qlikview, Tableau etc)
  • Web Based Reporting Software (Microsoft's Reporting Services)
  • Crystal Reports
  • Accounts System Report Writers (SAP, Oracle, Sage, Microsoft)

All great products (technically) and all offering very flexible and powerful functionality.

Despite such choice however, I am sure all the above vendors are asked one simple question by end users - "how does your product integrate with Excel" ?

Why ? Because end users want and need to do things with information and what they need to do changes (often in an extremely volatile fashion) over time. Hardly any users just take data in their company and just present it. Many times they have to take other considerations into account, more external data, additional calculations, captured commentary, web based 3rd party information .... the list is endless.

 

Excel Usage In Management Reporting

Even when a Business Intelligence or Dashboard product is mandated in any organisation the end result is still the same "it doesn't matter what new technology or product comes out, the data always ends up in Excel" quipped one Finance Director.

That doesn't mean to say that "raw" Excel is the answer. IT Departments fears are for real and when users try and turn Excel into a database and download huge volumes of information to produce the necessary reports and analyses, the result is always a disaster.

Cell references forget to be updated, changes in an organisation's information infrastructure (new Customers, Products, Cost Centres etc) don't get reflected in our Excel workbooks, final presented results are invariably wrong.

 

A La Carte Product Suite

The trick we have found from over 20 years experience in this exciting domain of Management Reporting, is not trying to replace Excel, it's more about embracing what it's good at and replacing what it's poor at.

With our A La Carte product suite, we believe that Excel is the end user front end of choice and is better at presenting and calculating information than any other available reporting tool. What it's not good at, is storing vast quantities of data and securing data so that's it's only available for security cleared personnel, which is what highly tuned corporate databases provided by IT Departments are so good at.

We simply combine the two, to keep end users and IT alike happy (both for the right reasons !).

 

Take a look at the A La carte product section  to see how you can make management reporting simple and cost effective in your organisation or if you would like to arrange a demonstration of our software then please book a demo.

Alternatively, just register your interest and we'll get back to you to discuss your precise requirements.