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Have you ever Wondered Why Excel is so Popular?

It is commonly used by companies for data management (data entry, transformation, and storage), assisting decision making (visual tables and graphs) and process automation (creation of forms or usage of VBA).

Purely from a technical perspective if there are plenty of options available to us besides Excel to perform these tasks, so then why is it that again and again Excel appears in almost every job that we take?

The Numbers don’t lie!

Office 365 active users grew from 70 million in 2016 to 345 million in 2022. Meanwhile Oracle, a renowned database software, has 5 million registered customers and developers.
This is not all about the technical side, but a combination of factors.

Here are 3 Main Reasons why Excel dominates the market:

  1. Easy – to have, to learn, to use, to share, to ask for help.

Whether you are trained, or self-taught, Excel-like tools are around our day-to-day life, even outside of work hours.

Spreadsheets help us to organize our finance, manage out time better as well as other routine jobs. When we go to our offices and we meet the same needs, we often use the Excel spreadsheet software available to do so. Not only it is convenient to use, but we can also work with others, sharing content and asking for help. The community is broad enough that any question will not remain unanswered.

  • “What is the most used feature in any business intelligence solution? It is the Export to Excel button.”

It is a funny saying, but there is a grain of truth in every joke. We might have extraordinary systems and models to generate the information needed for decision making, but more often than not, the presentation of this information will be in Excel.

Managers don’t need fancy dashboards or extensive reports, they just need the right information at the right time presented clearly and Excel does the trick perfectly.

  • IT pace versus Market needs

There is no argument that developed systems are safer, faster and more accurate than spreadsheets, but the minimum interval of a sprint in Agile methodology is still 1 week. We live in a world that rules change in minutes and a second wasted can be the difference between making money or losing money.

Unfortunately, IT departments cannot deliver in such a short time frame and that is when process are created using a simpler automation platform such as Excel. The bright side is that every automation can be viewed as a prototype for future system enhancements, already tested with production data.

The reasons given here are not only are non-technical, but they are also timeless. Excel popular usage was not imposed as some development methodologies are, it was born naturally out of necessity and as so will remain for years. On top of that, Microsoft is always adding more features and other systems often create integrations with it. Bloomberg allows you to easily use excel formulas to access real time stock data. Because everyone uses it, every system wants to integrate with it, increasing its usability – a virtuous cycle.

If you want to get to know more about this or deepen your knowledge, don’t miss out the opportunity to join us in our “DIPLOMA IN EXCEL – ADVANCED” starting this October 5th.
10 weekly shots of knowledge that will boost your career.

Wune Li

Lecturer, City Colleges Dublin