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B.I. and Excel

by Steve BogdonThursday, October 1, 2009

After more than two decades of heavy use, Microsoft Excel still seems to be the most popular tool for business intelligence applications. From simple "Ma and Pa"-type data analysis to third-party applications extending its vast functionality, Excel seems to have something for everyone in the BI community.

And why not? It's everywhere and everyone knows how to use it. But what does the future hold for the spreadsheet sovereign? Are other technologies waiting to displace Excel (perhaps open source or SaaS applications)? Are all the "export to Excel" options in many BI applications causing a "spreadmart" phenomenon? What should be done about this?

Join us in October as we examine these questions and more.

As always, we welcome your contribution to this topic.  We invite you to submit content (an article, white paper or perhaps take part in an interview) to help share your knowledge of BI and Excel.


Use Of Excel For BI And Mid-Market Accessibility

Until a couple of years ago, business intelligence was considered an enterprise solution with limited applications for small and mid-sized organizations because of the associated software and maintenance costs. In addition, the fact that companies required a strong IT infrastructure to begin with meant that businesses without a mature IT environment were unable to take advantage of what BI had to offer. With the perceived saturation of the enterprise market, the increasing adoption of Software as a Service (SaaS), and the need for business to get better insights out of their data, mid-market companies were poised to take advantage of the expanded BI offerings within the market.

by: Lyndsay Wise, WiseAnalytics

Excel And The Road To Information Visibility

Over the years, the role of business intelligence (BI) within organizations has evolved to help businesses increase the level of insight they are able to achieve on a daily basis. The use of Excel has survived throughout BI’s journey to become one of the central ways the BI community collects, stores and manages information in order to gain deeper insights into what is occurring within the organization. Although a powerful tool with the ability to analyze data while maintaining analytic autonomy, there exist downsides to using Excel as the main source of business intelligence.

by: Lyndsay Wise, WiseAnalytics

How to create a dashboard in Excel

Yes, Excel is a very flexible tool, but to create a dashboard you can’t just paste some data and add a few charts, can you? The dashboard must be maintained and updated and if you want to minimize the cost associated with that tasks you must impose some structure to your data.

by: Jorge Camoes

Six Techniques for Excel 2007 Dashboarding

On september 25th 2009, the island of Aruba held their parliamentary elections. Local television station, TeleAruba, contracted me to create a system to predict and track voting results as they are announced. I started my research about one month prior to the election date since that was when the station contacted me for the first time. I wasn’t sure which way I was going to take this. One thing I knew is that whatever direction I would take, this would be something I have never done before. In the past I have worked with Excel to do the same predictions and graphs etc. Deep down I wanted to do something new and not with Excel. First I thought to go web based with flash graphs. I tested a couple of tools, but simple tasks like changing bar colors on a bar graphs would take scripting knowledge and skills. I did not have the time to develop those skills.

by: Remigio Rasmijn

Excel Heaven - Or Is It Hell?

Spreadsheets such as Excel can be a dragging anchor that impedes progress toward adopting the full vision of the perform management framework. Disjointed spreadsheets, that I refer to as the spreadsheet-itis disease, have been nuisance that have now become a serious problem. This is not only because their use involves cumbersome and untimely reporting, but because it denies people a single, unified view of vital data—one version of the truth.

by: Gary Cokins, SAS

Business Intelligence And Excel

No in-depth discussion of business intelligence and BI tools could be complete without paying homage to the pervasive use and influence of Microsoft Excel. With its more than 300 dedicated functions for data operations, MS Excel’s ability to clearly portray, massage and distribute knowledge throughout the enterprise is undisputed. For a large number of organizations, Excel remains an important part of the BI solutions stack and in some cases, for better or worse, still serves as the centerpiece for corporate intelligence.

by: William Laurent, William Laurent, Inc.

One-on-One with Elad Israeli - CEO and Co-Founder of SiSense Ltd.

Dashboard Insight recently spoke with Elad Israeli about his business intelligence solutions, in-memory technologies for Excel dashboards and what's in the pipe for SiSense.

by: Steve Bogdon, Dashboard Insight

Using Excel to Create Dashboards

My favorite design tools are pencil and paper. These are the most efficient tools to explore different design solutions. In this case, through sketching we explored many different ways to create an experience that would easily allow people to create good looking and meaningful charts. The sketches as shown in Image 3 were discussed with the development team and used as an inspiration source for more ideas.

by: Sander Viegers, Microsoft

How to Get Started With Excel Dashboard Reporting

Excel works very well for dashboard reporting. But there are a wide variety of techniques you can use, and they all can't be explained in one short article.

Even so, here are some tips and techniques to get you headed in the right direction.

by: Charley Kyd, President, www.exceluser.com

How to build Dashboards using Excel data with InfoCaptor Dashboard Designer

This paper will illustrate how to build Dashboard (reports, charts) from Excel Spreadsheet. The data file is also provided so you can follow the steps.

by: Nilesh Jethwa, Founder, InfoCaptor

Excel Ticket Management Dashboard

This dashboard report is displayed within an IT Service Desk environment enhancing the quality of IT service provision within the organization by providing Service Desk agents with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) according to ITIL v3.

This dashboard report is created using database queries and simple Excel techniques.

by: David King, Matokeo

WebSite Analytics Dashboard

Here is our latest Excel based dashboard. It’s a WebSite Analytics dashboard. The upper chart in the dashboard shows the Visitors in June, the lower part of the dashboard shows the Visitor / Traffic / Goal metrics enriched with area sparklines and a ranking table. The whole dashboard was built with Excel and MicroCharts. People often ask us which tool we use to build our dashboards and are surprised that the answer is Excel.

by: Andreas Lipphardt, BonaVista Systems

Building Effective Digital Dashboards with Excel

Here is our latest Excel based dashboard. It’s a WebSite Analytics dashboard. The upper chart in the dashboard shows the Visitors in June, the lower part of the dashboard shows the Visitor / Traffic / Goal metrics enriched with area sparklines and a ranking table.

by: Andreas Lipphardt, BonaVista Systems

Dashboard Insight will be adding BI and Excel BI articles all month.

Please check back often.


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