From Limited to UNLIMITED
By John Florio
Go from Limited…
X Spreadsheets are Limited to two dimensions
(Rows and Columns.)
X There are many opportunities for manual error.
X Data, Formulas, and Dimensions that live in the spreadsheet are difficult to share.
X Relational database– Powerful for querying
information against 1 dimension
(e.g. All transactions > $1000)
X Cannot compare and contrast or do any analytics
X Therefore, revert back to Excel with exports.
+ MULTIPLE DIMENSIONS
no longer require different/multiple spreadsheets.
+ DATA INDEPENDANCE
+ NO MANUAL ERROR
The formulas are stored in analytical database
+ TRUE COLLABORATION
Find a way or make a way.
If you work in Accounting/Finance or any other department that relies heavily on Excel, there’s no doubt you have heard that statement before. Honestly, it goes with the territory.
This is not a dig on your IT department—they are swamped with maintaining countless applications to keep the company running. So getting the data you need from them to make your job easier sometimes seems impossible.
So you make a way!
Export ‘til It Hurts
You run exports of data from the various systems you use every day, and you find a way to cobble that data together as best as you can. Then, you use the greatest tool in the world, Microsoft Excel. You can do magic with Rows, Columns and even PivotTables. Somehow, you find a way to get the analysis done, the report done, the budget done, etc. After countless hours of work, who knows how many formulas you turn it in to your boss. The spreadsheet gets shared, reviewed and perhaps even adjusted without your knowledge. When it’s all said and done, how confident are you that everything is matched up? How confident are you that you can do it again next month—because you have to export and do it all over again.
Excel Is (Only) 2-Dimensional
Like any spreadsheet tool, data in Excel exists in 2 dimensions: information in the Rows and information in the Columns. And 2 dimensions are way better than 1. The relational database from which you are always trying to get information?…it records transactions along a single line (a single transaction, a single data point, 1 dimension). While you can query all transactions that are, say, above $1,000, when you want to compare/contrast data or do any sort of analytics, then your querying/reporting-writing tool basically fails you.
So you find a way still—in Excel!…
…But still you are limited to 2 dimensions. Once you start laying out different spreadsheets to get different perspectives it makes for a lot of work. Essentially you re confined when working in Excel (only). It’s the limitation of the product, and it’s evolutionary: the demand for information and analysis continues to grow, while your skills in Excel continue to grow, and soon you have an inventory of 50+ spreadsheets with tabs and who knows how many formulas needed to accomplish your job! The data, the formulas, the dimensions all stored in the Excel grid, and it can’t really be shared, except literally (email, SharePoint, etc.).
Confined to saved XLS files (many of them) there’s no way for them to “speak” to one another, and there’s no way for you to collaborate in real time with your teammates on a shared model. (Never mind the fact that getting new data from those relational database systems requires another export, etc.)
A Multidimensional Solution—While Still Using Excel
In order to move forward, to solve these problems, to gain accuracy—and to collaborate (with appropriate security)—you need to achieve “data independence,” whereby data and formulas exist, but not in Excel. They exist in an online analytical database—a multidimensional database that takes in data from underlying relational databases and uses good ol’ Excel as a dynamic front end.
This is an important concept. Why?
Find a way or make a way.
Restated: because when you save a spreadsheet you save the formulas; you save the data; and you save the two-dimensional (only) structure of a busines model. It’s all in the spreadsheet and it can’t be shared…not for collaborative purposes.
It is possible to find a BETTER way…a way to go from “limited to unlimited,” while continuing to use Excel.
PowerExcel is a better way: a cloud-based way to store data and formulas, multidimensionally, while still using Excel; a way for work groups—up to enterprise-level—to work collaboratively.
With PowerExcel, go from Limited to Unlimited.
If you are interested in learning more, visit us at: www.paristech.com