Spreadsheet is Still the King of all Business Intelligence Tools

Spreadsheet is Still the King of all Business Intelligence Tools by Jim King.

From the post:

The technology consulting firm Gartner Group Inc. once precisely predicated that BI would be the hottest technology in 2012. The year of 2012 witnesses the sharp and substantial increase of BI. Unexpectedly, spreadsheet turns up to be the one developed and welcomed most, instead of the SAP BusinessObjects, IBM Cognos, QlikTech Qlikview, MicroStrateg, or TIBCO Spotfire. In facts, no matter it is in the aspect of total sales, customer base, or the increment, the spreadsheet is straight the top one.

Why the spreadsheet is still ruling the BI world?

See Jim’s post for the details but the bottom line was:

It is the low technical requirement, intuitive and flexible calculation capability, and business-expert-oriented easy solution to the 80% BI problems that makes the spreadsheet still rule the BI world.


How do you translate:

  • low technical requirement
  • intuitive and flexible calculation capacity (or its semantic equivalent)
  • business-expert-oriented solution to the 80% of BI problems

into a topic map application?

One Response to “Spreadsheet is Still the King of all Business Intelligence Tools”

  1. clemp says:

    Several of your recent posts got me thinking about something similar to this question. Here’s my two cents based on many years of using Agenda and Excel.

    I used Agenda categorization a lot. I use browser bookmark categorization (tagging) very little even though it is easier. From a previous post, other users used fuzzzy tags very little. Why is that? I think the answer to that is directly related to your question in this post.

    Low technical requirement –
    I think this translates to trees instead of graphs. We seem to prefer trees to graphs in almost everything.

    intuitive and flexible calculation capacity –
    Flexible translates to several things. Vocabulary, semantic rules, information structure, and display/reporting structure defined by the user, not by the application. They are also separate from the data. Flexible also means the user has the ability to apply the semantics at any time: before, during, or after the information is entered/imported. Any changes to the vocabulary or semantics are automatically applied to the data. (Both Excel and Agenda have these traits.)

    Intuitive? I have no idea here. Agenda was flexible but still had a steep learning curve and that’s what I think killed it. It was only intuitive after you learned it. But than that is true of Excel or a word processor too.)

    business expert-oriented solution –
    I think the only way to have a business oriented solution AND to get a wide user base is to have the user’s build their own solutions. That is what Agenda, Excel, and Access all support. If you are going to let users build their own solutions, then it needs to be forgiving since users will not realize they went down the wrong path until they see the results. At that point they may want to go back some number of steps and try something else.