It has been 30 years since Excel’s initial release, yet it is still relevant, it is still dominant. In this week’s topic, we discuss the reasons behind this and a lot more. Facilitated by Jordan Goldmeier, we have Oz du Soleil and Rick Grantham on our panel joined by our special guests Johann Odou and John Persico (from ModelOFF).
1 – Analytics Software
Jordan started off the topic by mentioning how needs of small businesses are very different from those of large enterprises. ERP solutions often tend to be really big, too expensive and too general for these small-scale firms. Hence, customized solutions made in Excel are still popular among them. Not only are they inexpensive, they fulfill almost all of their needs.
On the other hand, Oz stated how reliance on database solutions can lead to wastage of time. This happens especially when analysts are waiting for IT guys to pull reports for them from the system. Hence, they turn to Excel for their everyday needs.
2 – Pervasiveness of Excel
According to Rick, the key lies in the fact that Excel has been widely adopted, and is relatively inexpensive and very versatile. A piece of software will need to be ten times better to replace the place Excel has attained. And, especially as a finance guy, such a scenario is hard to imagine.
Johann and John chipped into the discussion by explaining how they decided to stick to Excel when starting out with ModelOFF. Choosing just one piece of software would have enabled use of a standard set of guidelines and a way to easily compare models. Moreover, 95% of their target audience was indeed very comfortable Excel.
Johann also mentioned that with Excel they did not have to face any inertia! Most businesses rely on Excel for a lot of their financial modeling needs. Moreover, financial modeling in Excel has successfully pulled into university systems worldwide.
3 – Resistance to Change
Another reason for the stickiness of Excel is the resistance from its users to even jump to the latest versions of Excel. Johann stated that a lot of people, including many of the ‘mega-users’ or ‘power-users’, are stuck with Excel 2007 or 2010. This means that adoption of the newer Analytics software will be very slow.
John followed it up by saying that what matters for businesses ultimately is containing costs. If Excel is getting the job done, incentive to upscale is not there. He also emphasized on how ModelOFF celebrates these ‘mega-users’ or ‘power-users’. And involves them in discussions with Microsoft on how to take them to the next level.
4 – Future of Excel and ModelOFF
When asked about how Web Apps were going to affect ModelOFF, John and Johann both were of the view that these developments should be incorporated given enough demand from the audience. As users become more familiar with Web Apps, ModelOFF will need to find cool ways to integrate them into the competition. But the core of ModelOFF, its essence, will remain unchanged.
5 – Other Competitions
Johann and John were excited to introduce two more competitions:
- Texata – Big Data World Championships: this is the ModelOFF equivalent for Big Data. 1,750 users had already signed up for the competition in just 3.5 months of starting out.
- LoyaltyGames – Loyalty and Gamification World Championships: the idea here is around making people think on how best to enable customer loyalty.
Their competitions are based on various areas professional services. They are about giving people an environment to come together and learn, and to celebrate professional excellence.
6 – Merchandising Ideas
Our ModelOFF duo wanted to bounce a few special ideas off our experts. And Jordan had something entertaining set for the occasion in response. Make sure to check out this bonus section in the video.
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