Posted: Aug 6, 2020

Do you know what year Microsoft Excel was created?  Go ahead and guess right now (the answer is at the bottom of the article).

Let’s just say that Excel has been with us for a long time and has permeated almost every part of business.  This has happened for good reason, Excel is an amazing tool that is flexible, familiar, and relatively inexpensive. However, like most tools its greatest strength, flexible quantitative analysis and problem solving, is its greatest weakness. The familiarity that we all have with Excel means that people can usually figure out a solution in Excel for a given problem, even if it takes 10 times longer and is clearly the wrong tool for the job.  It’s the classic example of everything looking like a nail if you’re holding a hammer or maybe a better comparison is using a fax machine instead of e-mailing a pdf.  Perhaps you’ve heard a conversation like this before:

How can we display this data more effectively?

“I’ll run a pivot chart and create some graphs!”

Can we automate this process?

“Sure, I’ll develop a macro for you”

What happens to our budget if we decrease sales by 25%?

“Give us a day to change our formula’s and we’ll get “Budget Workbook – Version 38” back to you.”


Are these really the best solutions in today’s day and age? 


In order for organizations to effectively utilize data to help grow their business and increase profitability the following features are necessary:

  • Analytics that are engaging and tell a story that can grab client’s and employee’s attention

  • Automated data gathering and manipulation (ETL)

  • Scalability of accurate, consistent reporting across your organization

Excel is not a good tool to accomplish any of those items.  Readily available tools in the market such as Microsoft Power BI and Tableau are built to provide organizations with improved accuracy, scalability, storytelling and modelling.

  • Data Accuracy – Having a single source of truth lie in Excel is rarely a sustainable approach
  • Scalability – Excel files are excellent at replicating, just always in slightly a different form resulting in multiple copies of the same file
  • Story Telling – The engagement of readers is not the core strength of Excel, unless that audience clearly has a numbers background; most of the time it’s only the creator of the Excel who knows what’s truly going on!
  • Data Modeling – Scenario analysis with the impact of multiple factors is challenging to visualize in an easy way

So the next time somebody in your organization sends you an Excel document ask yourself – is this how a data driven company would communicate? 

At Pontem we can quickly create automated, clear and succinct dashboards for your team to manage your business.  We can do this remotely, quickly and cost effectively.  Contact us today at [email protected] and let’s talk about how your organization can unlock the value of your data.

“Data are just summaries of thousands of stories – tell a few of those stories to help make the data meaningful.”

— Chip & Dan Heathith

Excel was created in 1985 and was actually first used on a Mac computer.

Start Now. Start with Pontem.

Book a 30 minute demo where we’ll walk you through interactive reporting examples that are most relevant to your business.

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