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"You are now entering Well Duh County, have a pleasant stay. King Canute, Mayor"Gartner BI Summit: Wave the white flag on using Excel for business intelligence
LAS VEGAS -- Itâ€™s a staple of business intelligence (BI) and data warehousing conferences: speakers and attendees lamenting the continued existence of spreadmarts and â€œthe kingdom of Excelâ€ as they talk about business users who wonâ€™t give up their spreadsheets in favor of the more functional and manageable BI applications installed by their organizations.
But that kind of talk wasnâ€™t heard at Gartner Inc.â€™s annual Business Intelligence Summit here this week. Instead, Gartner analysts and BI managers said that efforts to stop Excel BI use in its tracks were bound to fail. Their advice: Stop trying and make your peace with Excel as a BI tool.
The obvious, it blinds!â€œNo matter what we try to do, I donâ€™t think we can get away from Excel,â€ said Sri Vemparala, manager of reporting and BI at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. Stanford uses applications from several BI platforms, including SAP BusinessObjects, Oracle BI and Oracle Hyperion. But Vemparala said the vast majority of end users â€“ perhaps 90% â€“ take data from the BI tools and export the information to Excel so they can work on it there. Attempting to stamp that out â€œwould be a waste of time,â€ he added.
That aside, the rest of the article does cover some interesting questions and issues relating to data governance.Sentara Healthcare, a regional healthcare system based in Norfolk, Va., .... has embraced Excel as an approved application for storing and working on BI data, Owens said. Last July, for example, the company deployed a prototype BI system with Excel sitting on top of Microsoft Corp.â€™s SQL Server Analysis Services software for use by the operating room managers at its hospitals, he said. â€œWe decided that if you canâ€™t beat â€˜em, join â€˜em.â€