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What Is Modern Excel?

We all know that Modern Excel is impacting our everyday lives. But the question is, five or ten years from now, would we be doing the same things but better? Or would the landscape have changed dramatically?

Jordan Goldmeier is here to facilitate the discussion over this theme in the presence of our in-house experts Oz du Soleil, Rick Grantham and Szilvia Juhasz.

What are you waiting for? Let’s dive into the discussion.

1 – What is Modern Excel?

Former Microsoft Engineer Rob Collie, from PowerPivotPro, introduced the idea of ‘Modern Excel’. According to him, the modern BI tools such as PowerPivot, Power Query, Power View and Web Apps define ‘Modern Excel’. Let’s see how our experts think these will play out in the near future.

2 – Place of VBA

Jordan believes that there is still room for VBA. There will always be a need for clever coding to design Excel applications that minimize errors from the user’s end. It was also mentioned how JavaScript and JQuery will be the future of Web Apps. While one can wish for VBA to become more visual, e.g. drag and drop programming, major changes are expected to be geared towards Wed Apps.

3 – Use of Excel

Rick stressed on how implementation of BI tools is seen as a threat by people working with Access or Excel. Modern Excel is aimed at helping them do what they do much better. And within this space, the need for BI tools to somehow accommodate Excel users is very important from a marketing perspective.

Numerous analysis and reporting tools, e.g. Tableau, have emerged recently. But as data analysts, it is our job to harness the power of these tools to deliver insights from the data. And in Szilvia’s view, Excel will always remain part of the equation in this sense.

4 – Future of VLOOKUPs and SUMIFs

Jordan thinks that convergence of DAX and Excel formulas will impact these everyday use functions in Excel. According to Oz, it depends on what one does in this huge realm of data analysis. His work focuses heavily on preparing spreadsheets with formulas and making VBA applications. And for this purpose, these functions are nothing short of life-savers and will not be done away with.

Rick seconded Oz. He also believes that these functions will always be at the disposal of the users. In his opinion, in evolutionary terms, more and more complex calculations are being done in Excel which might be linked over multiple workbooks. Given how crucial the accuracy of these models is for business decision-making, it makes sense to move them at the database level.

5 – Data Literacy and Reliance on Excel

Drawing on that point further, Szilvia mentioned that Excel is a reporting tool which is being forcefully used to manage backend calculations. As the amount of data increases, which is happening at a pace greater than ever, business risk will increase dramatically. There’s a published article by ACCA where they found out that more 90% of the spreadsheets developed by businesses contain errors. This really puts business risk in perspective.

Oz emphasized on the effect of environment on data literacy. He noted how being able to think about data and accuracy of analysis / results is something that needs to be given priority in addressing this situation.

What’s next?

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Excel Power User's Quick Guides

by Szilvia Juhasz
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