I went to work with coffee in my mug and now there’s coffee on my shirt and when I got to the meeting this morning I tripped on the computer cord and now the servers are down and it botched this month’s invoices and I could tell I was going to be dealing with terrible, horrible, no good, very bad data. Coming down with “a case of the Mondays” always brings to mind the mantra from Judith Viorst’s “perennially popular” children’s book.

How often is this experienced in your small business? How often do you encounter a domino effect of problems that escalate due to inaccurate or misread data? So many people use Microsoft Excel as an instrument for analytics, data communication, and forecasting, but due to its simplistic design it is difficult – if not entirely impossible – to maintain a joint functionality that allows for these analytics. As David Essex points out in his blog post, the tech world is realizing that Excel is well on its way to being considered obsolete, and that “with Excel, the data is only as good as it’s last import.”

Essex maintains that Excel is the “tool of individuals,” and hasn’t lost its appeal in regard to calculations and formulaic data entry. However, with the many funnels needed for today’s data maintenance, Excel simply cannot cut it. Excel is designed for one type of equation, not changeable entries. Due to this, users try to break down their data into segments to make it more manageable. Still, the extra time it takes to conserve these smaller reports in turn means more cost to your company.

Bernard Marr of Forbes gives us 5 Reasons Why we would want to avoid using Excel as it enters its “awkward teenage years”:

  1. Employees outside of the data analysts bubble are usually confused or intimidated by Excel.
  2. Important data may be hidden inside the anonymity of the spreadsheet. Visual analytics, such as the platform designed by Qlik, can help weed out the vital information from the useless.
  3. Far too many errors in analysis. Transferring data from an Excel spreadsheet to the friendlier readability of charts and graphs almost always warps the data and leads to poorly made decisions.
  4. Spreadsheets “update” in order to protect the size of the document, but it results in losing the organization’s historical data.
  5. Despite the value of cloud computing, sharing Excel documents is difficult because Excel data is rarely “real time.”

Feeling confused as to why anyone is still living in “Excel Hell” ? Business Intelligence solutions exist to organize muddled data and visual analytics present information to users clearly, eliminating miscalculated or misread results. As organizations grow and change, so do their data conservation needs, and all businesses rely on this information to make important decisions. For example, Qlik platforms use visual analytics that are customizable to provide the best experience for the user.

“Unlike most tools that are limited by predefined hierarchies or preconceived notions of how data should be related, Qlik lets you finally understand and explore how it truly is related. Trust your data. Trust your decisions.”

Essex reminds that software vendors all have the same goal: getting enterprises off Excel and onto a more collaborative, data-savvy platform for their most critical financial needs. Keep BI solutions in mind the next time you find yourself wading through terrible, no good, very bad data.

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