Excel is dead. Long live Excel!
What is the most used planning tool out there? We all know it is Excel*. Why? Due to its flexibility, easy of use and it is part of Office automation, meaning no additional license fees are required to setup a planning system in Excel. So Excel has many advantages as a planning tool.
*: when mentioned Excel in this blog, we refer to Excel and Google Sheets
We all know that Excel also has it disadvantages and its limitations. We have seen Excel-solutions to support the yearly budgeting process in a worldwide operating organisation. Excel-templates are prepared by the Finance team and shared via Teams/ SharePoint. Budget-owners and Planners adjust, change and update the Excel planning files and after the set deadline, the consolidation of the Excel-files starts. The consolidated figures do not match up to expectations of the Board, so adjustments are made and the complete cycle as described above is repeated two to three more times.
In all this process takes several months and under great time pressure, the new budget is ready by the end of January. The process is lengthy, labour intensive and full of possible errors (data copying, formula errors, data loss). The process is a great burden on the Finance team preparing and consolidating the files as well as the budget owners and Planners. No-one loves this process but it is a must-do. And it all started with a Planner that created a first draft in Excel, which caught on within the organisation and requested additional functionality, expansion to other departments, more functionality, more data, more effort needed to maintain and update, …a vicious cycle at the edge of breaking.
But what if we can replace Excel by a very flexible, robust and cloud-based planning tool that can handle large amounts of data, is visually very appealing and supports the business? Sure it is not Excel, but with this planning tool, there is only one version out there, scenario planning and true connected business planning (demand – supply – finance) suddenly becomes an option. It would be even better if this cloud-based planning tool has an Excel look and feel, as well as Excel functionality (like the many Excel functions and charting options for example).
The good news is, there is a planning platform out there that offers all that…and more! Pigment (www.gopigment.com) is a cloud-based planning platform that supports different ares of planning (Sales, Marketing, Finance, HR, Supply Chain, …) and offers embedded Excel functionality. It is called Sheet-view. The default view of a group of metrics/ KPI’s in a Table is called the Grid-view.
By simply toggling the Sheet-view option, a complete worksheet appears with full Excel functionality.
This Sheet-view actually behaves as you would expect from your Excel experience. You can create formulas, link to cells, use Formulas (to generate additional forecasts for example).
Once you select the Grid-view again, the additional calculations are hidden, but remain active and available in Sheet-view. So best of both worlds:
- A centralised, cloud-based planning tool
- With Excel functionality
That is planning heaven!
Possible use cases you can think of for the use of Sheet-view:
- Finance: has additional calculations to perform financial cross checks and/ or calculate additional financial KPI’s (like ROI, NPV, Yields, IRR or risk calculations)
- Demand: has a need for additional, Excel based forecasting algorithms not supported by Pigment
- HR: have a detailed calculation of additional employee costs & benefits