Agile Business Intelligence and Excel Reporting

The humble spreadsheet certainly has a big part to play in reporting and data analysis. After all it would be difficult to find an organization that does not use excel reporting at all. Thinking about this phenomenon and agile BI led me to a few conclusions.

If we think about agile Business Intelligence as the capacity to rapidly create and distribute your data analysis then we need to factor in the use of spreadsheets as a data collection tool.

Studies show that about 30% of an organization’s data resides in spreadsheets. This is data that is provided to an organization from external sources such as google analytics, salesforce or commissioned research. For you data analysis to provide a complete picture it is critical that this data gets included and mashed up with existing corporate data sets. This is where the agile bit comes into play.

Business Intelligence Agility is moving from an IT software development lifecycle approach to developing Business Intelligence content to one where management have the tools to manage the majority of their own end to end BI needs. Sure there is agility at the data warehouse layer but that is still largely an IT domain not a business user one.

Business user-centric reporting tools
Business users are the owners of their spreadsheet data so it makes sense that they should be the ones to load and mash this data with their corporate data warehouse data. So what do they need to do this?

They need:

  1. Reporting software to load, validate and share spreadsheet data
  2. Reporting software that let’s them create their own reports from their spreadsheets
  3. Reporting software that lets them join spreadsheet data with other data sources

So what’s the theme – it’s a tool centric approach to agile BI. A reporting tool that is business user centric not an IT centric. It really is that easy.

Check our Yellowfin’s spreadsheet reporting solution for more information.

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