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Microsoft Excel vs Business Intelligence Software

For years, businesses have relied on the unique and effective features of Microsoft Excel to streamline operations. So entrusted is the software, that many businesses still cling to it, despite superior Business Intelligence (BI) software readily available and providing superior operational solutions. Here’s a look at why most forward-thinking businesses are moving to more sophisticated, yet easy-to-use BI software.

Excel vs Business Intelligence

What is Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft’s business-driven software programme uses spreadsheets as a way to organise numbers and data through various formulae and functions. Excel is typically used to perform financial analysis for business operations across all organisations, from small companies to large. Some of the primary uses of Microsoft Excel include:

 

  • Data entry and management
  • Accounting and financial analysis
  • Charting and graphing
  • Programming
  • Time and task management
  • Financial modelling
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)

 

What are the benefits of Excel?

Despite more advanced BI software coming onto the market, many CFOs remain quite fervent supporters of Microsoft Excel software and here’s why:

 

  • Cost-effective – It remains a competitively-priced software programme in line with its offerings.
  • Global recognition – For companies working across oceans, Microsoft Excel is an entrenched software that communicates with everyone.
  • Easy to use – Possibly more than just the simplicity of use, those in finance have been using Microsoft Excel for so long it’s second nature. It can be a bad habit to break.
  • Integration – Microsoft Excel integrates with other Microsoft tools.

 

What is Business Intelligence (BI) software?

BI software is used by businesses to transform seemingly random sets of data into actionable insights that will assist in determining future strategy and tactics going forwards. This data can be easily translated through summaries, dashboards, graphs, maps and charts.

 

Why BI is replacing Microsoft Excel

While some businesses might still be clinging to Microsoft Excel, there are those innovators bringing in superior BI software, for good reason. Here are a few:

 

1. Enhanced capacity

For bigger operations, Microsoft Excel can’t cope as effectively. If you’re working on a spreadsheet file with too much information, the document won’t open or will come up with error messaging. Alternatively, BI software is able to merge vast quantities of data which can’t be opened in Excel.

 

2. Opportunity for collaboration

Because Microsoft Excel is designed for use on a personal computer, it doesn’t offer multi-user capabilities, making it difficult for employees to work on one spreadsheet. However, BI software will allow for collaborative input, which means real-time input and modifications. Employees can even access the software from mobile devices with automatic alerts.

 

3. Task automation

Modern BI software will automatically collect and refresh data which means there is no need for employess to be dedicated to this task. This is great at minimising human error which is prevalent in Microsoft Excel, leading to massive financial implications.

 

4. Integration with cloud services

While Microsoft Excel integrates with other Microsoft technologies, it is limited beyond this reach. However, BI software – because it is cloud-based – can integrate with various other software solutions, extracting relevant data and leveraging better business insights.

 

5. Complex visuals

Microsoft Excel is limited in visualisation, and the creation of visuals takes a lot of time an effort. BI software will easily extract relevant data and automate incredible reports and visualisations in a minimal amount of time. It can combine the data onto a centralised dashboard, for ease of use.

 

6. Customised content

BI software is able to create live dashboards with interactive reports customised to your particular business. In addition, BI software offers users a Q&A feature which allows for the quick search of common phrases using natural language code.

 

7. Trends and forecasting

Software BI allows for the easy analysis of trends from vast amounts of business data. This can then be used for predictive business forecasting according to a weekly, monthly or annual estimate.

 

8. Increased security

Most BI software will provide you with superior security features that grant limited access to certain elements of the software. Because of the value associated with business data, it’s important that superior security is included with advanced access control.

Sales Reports in Excel


If you’re looking to switch over to Business Intelligence software, then it’s best to go with an industry leader like Canvas Intelligence which will provide a solution customised to your industry needs. Position your company as a market leader through better business decision making with BI software.