Excel spreadsheets are great for managing one-off calculations using limited data – but they simply aren’t designed to and can’t cope with more than that. For example, the recent reports of NHS Track and Trace “losing” 16,000 Covid test results which hit the headlines, come as no surprise to IT professionals. This error is just the latest in a long line of spreadsheet catastrophes – all of which were entirely avoidable.
Christina Warren, a Microsoft developer is quoted as advising: “Please don’t use Excel when what you need is a proper database…”.
Or to put it another way, as one wag tweeted this week, “Using Excel for this sort of data is like trying to make Toy Story 5 using PowerPoint!”
But despite the known limitations, many businesses – including some very large globals – rely on spreadsheets to manage their entire business when business intelligence software can completely remove the headache and time taken to build and manage the spreadsheets. Why is that?
Obviously, the reasons are many and varied but at core, I think there are probably 3 reasons why SMEs in particular haven’t yet embraced business intelligence tools:
1. Typically very expensive, SMEs have never been able to justify the investment and so there is no “knowledge base” in this sector of how this software actually works;
2. With no experience of this software, SME business owners simply don’t have a clear idea of the level of business reporting they really need – so in specifying the software, costly mistakes are often made and implementation takes months to settle down; and
3. “Built to order” systems are usually complex and difficult to use and SMEs do not have access to data analysts to help them get the best results.
Octelas business reporting software by Illuminis is the system designed specifically to remove all these obstacles for SMEs: tailored to the exact needs of your business and with continuous support from our team of data analysts, we can get you up and running within a couple of days and put in place a system that will save you time and money.