Software solutions for businesses have certainly come a long way from their humble beginnings in the mid ‘80s and
‘90s. The need for improving our business processes through software has paved the way for a lot of technological innovations, innovations that become invaluable, and eventually essential, to the way businesses operate. This is especially true of the innovations that have imitated and translated our pen and paper workflow to the more practical personal computer.
One innovation that did exactly this and stood the test of time was the spreadsheet. Software such as MS Excel and its predecessors managed to successfully turn paper-based ledger and accounting tasks into computerized commands.
When we were first introduced to Microsoft Excel, we didn’t have many options available and the spreadsheet market was in its infancy. Prior to Excel’s release many people were using the natively integrated MS-DOS spreadsheets, which was clumsily operated through the command line. Needless to say that when Excel came out it was an instant game changer. Its point and click , graphical interface enabled us to work with it intuitively in a heartbeat. The original Mac proved to be a worthy companion of such a groundbreaking product. When the PC version was launched Excel instantly became Microsoft’s flagship product and the claim “proficient in Microsoft Excel” slowly became a part of every job application worldwide.
Things have been improving steadily at Microsoft’s HQ, but with the release of Office 2016, our beloved spreadsheet app jumped to a whole new level. Many important upgrades have been added to Office 2016, but one of the biggest is definitely the official marriage of Excel and Business Intelligence. The upgrade in question has enabled Excel users to explore the world of collecting, analyzing and presenting the data their business generates. With the addition of Power View, Power Map and Power Query, Excel now packs a solid punch and ultimately solidifies its position as a market leader.
Like all other software innovations, Excel 2016 came out swinging. The new BI integrations had the Internet talking about what it would mean and what it would do for businesses. The predictions started and finished, but there weren’t many that dealt with anything else other than the basic functions and how we’d use them.
One question that leading Excel experts were keen on answering was about the future of Excel and BI. They shared their visionary predictions in this interview with 27 biggest Excel experts. Let’s take a closer look at some of their most interesting points.
“Excel continues to be the #1 platform when it comes to analyzing data, finding information, preparing charts and presenting them to decision makers. In that sense, I see Excel playing a strong role in BI workflows in future.” – Chandoo
“Excel has rapidly evolved from being a tool for data entry and data cleaning, to being a powerful data analysis and visualization tool.” – Sumit Bansal
“With Microsoft continuing to cater to BI needs with new chart types, sparklines, Power Map, Power View, etc., I see Excel continuing to be the default tool of choice.” – Jon Wittwer
“It remains to be seen where the BI story in Excel will end up. But one thing is certain, the new BI features released with Excel will ultimately have an impact on the way organizations think about BI.” – Michael Alexander
With Excel loaded into more than 700 million computers, it’s only a matter of time before we all dive into the world of data powered processes. The experts have shared their predictions. What are yours?