Talk to anybody in any company and I am prepared to bet that they will be able to give you an example of a recent business decision based on an Excel spreadsheet. Taking this further I bet that spreadsheet was put together by copying and pasting data from a number of disparate systems that they wish were connected in some way. One client recently confessed that they have an MBA graduate on staff whose time is currently taken up with compiling such spreadsheets. Now I do not want to dare to question the power of Excel, I only want to propose looking at ways to better the speed and accuracy on which decisions could be made.
Imagine a world where all your data was available in one place, now take this further. Imagine being able to construct reports based on the way you think, not on the way the business thinks you should think. Don’t think about formulae and algorithms, think in natural speech. You want to know the sales figures for June, type in “Sales for June” and hey presto, there they are. You want a map rather than a grid of text, then click the map icon and there's your data in a Bing Map. Now imagine the interface to do this was as easy as putting together a slide deck or Excel sheet. Well we don’t need to imagine anymore, it’s here. Enter Microsoft’s Power BI platform. Here is a solution that has already coded “connectors” to a large number of data sources you already use today: SQL, Excel, SAP BODS, Exchange, SharePoint, SalesForce and many more. This platform allows you to “wizard” your way to answering your questions your way in minutes. All of this functionality is packaged in an easily approachable Office like UI. Even more powerful is how easy it is to share your designs with colleagues on both your desktop as well as your mobile device (yes finally a HTML 5 product).
For more information on the Microsoft Power BI platform visit this site.