The American novelist Jack London, maybe never used Excel, but he once wrote, “The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” and if you an end user using Excel, you sure wasting your time
Following my recent posts, I received some feedback that I’m totally wrong in my view of Excel. Allow me to respond to the comments with this post. To be clear, my position is that non-data people shouldn’t waste their time using Excel and playing with numbers; you should use your time to make decisions and take actions.
Excel is most likely an amazing tool. It’s installed on almost every computer, and just about everyone was required to learn it at some point in their lives. “Very good knowledge of MS Excel” appeared on many CVs at one time, and still does on some. People who knew how to use Pivot and Vlookup three years ago could call themselves Excel superstars.
Now? Any manager can use MS Excel. It enables you to aggregate data into pivot tables and build calculations on top of the data to find patterns. Many managers are happy not to need a data analyst or business intelligence (BI) team member to provide them with conclusions from the raw data collected. But in doing this yourself, you ignore the dysfunction of your BI team and excuse their failure to implement a state-of-the-art, automated reporting system.
To get a system in place that will produce more actionable data, you need to give up on this tool, and instead push your BI team to step up their game and adopt a state-of-the-art, automated reporting system.
Takeaway: The world is changing, and I don’t see a place for Excel in it any longer.