Jul 19, 2017

88% of all Excel spreadsheets contain errors. But buyers still have a love-hate relationship with Excel spreadsheets. Everyone knows that there are better options. Despite Excel’s weaknesses and the range of alternatives, 750 million users worldwide use Excel spreadsheets. They are on every computer. Even colleagues with limited IT skills can work with them and the cost of acquiring and running Excel is practically negligible. When Microsoft brought the spreadsheet calculation program to the market in 1985, it set a new standard in user friendliness and functionality. Many of these advantages still count today. 

Nevertheless, it‘s time to say goodbye

Whenever you …

  • have to enter or edit data into multiple places
  • need to create and share spreadsheets
  • work with others,
  • receive or share information
  • aggregate data from multiple business units or procurement organizations,
  • analyze or report on your data

there are better options. Excel is not made for today's procurement world. Modern IT technologies are more flexible, intelligent and secure. They support Procurement significantly better, because they can process the large quantities of data of today and display complex relationships. They enable deeper insights and better decisions that would be otherwise impossible.

Reduce workload of 2.5 months to 1.5 days

There are few processes in Procurement that are not collaborative or where data insights do not matter. From processing basic supplier data, supplier relationship management, inventory planning and forecasting, savings control and budget, spend analysis and reporting to procurement controlling - replacing Excel spreadsheets by modern technologies reduces the lead times AND the error rates significantly. The example of analyzing data and preparing reports makes this particularly striking, because the amount of data and its complexity has been increasing fast for years. Excel 2003 can process 65,536 rows, Excel 2007 over one million - but these are capacities that are not nearly enough in the times of big data. In addition, Excel spreadsheets are set up to collect one kind of information. When you need to process two or more kinds of information, it becomes difficult, e.g. inventory and spend or orders and suppliers. Walter Charles, CPO of the biotechnology company Biogen, gets to the heart of the problem in an interview with Procurement Leaders magazine, talking about his experience at Kraft Foods:

The guy who did my analytics had a 450 million data element problem: 5,100 stock-keeping units (SKUs), 900 suppliers, 100 »cost elements per SKU, just for labels. We used to do that through Excel. To do the Excel analytics he would run roughly 172 scenarios and it would take two and a half months to get those analytics back. I couldn’t carve off a big enough chunk of that to make sense of it all. Enter big data. In order to get those analytics, I decided to bolt on a big data analytics tool, which allowed each one of these scenarios to be done in just 45 seconds, meaning he was able to do 172 scenarios in one and a half days, resulting in 15% to 20% savings.

11 Better Alternatives to Excel

Excel is dead. If you‘re not yet convinced that the right SRM technologies in Procurement can improve performance, this download is for you. It talks about all classic areas where Excel has previously helped - and the better alternatives for you.

Want to learn more? Check out the full eBook below!

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