This is another in one of my information ninja articles. Information Ninja is what one of my customers calls me. I told him, no, it is my job to make him one. He laughed and said he wasn’t quite sure that was the case.
But indeed it is. I know how to find data and report on it – which is what this article is all about. But he knows his business. He knows the numbers he wants to see or, in many cases, what numbers he is not seeing – ie sales calls not being made. I really hate seeing that one because it often times means someone may be leaving the organization sooner than they had planned.
So what, you may ask, has this to do with the topic of the article? Good question. This month alone we have had 5 requests to develop some reports using Excel. Several of these customers already had tools in-house – like Crystal and some other add-ons but they wanted to do drill downs. They liked the static reports – but they wanted to be able to click on a specific item and see what comprised the data. Well, that’s Pivot charts and tables.
For one customer, not only did we build an Excel Dashboard with 6 panels, we also built some VBA code to have a PDF copy of the report mailed to the boss. Who then wanted to see the drill down. See – told you. So, I added a link to a copy of the Excel reporting worksheet and the boss thought he had died and gone to heaven. This is the same guy that signs the checks. Boss happy. Patty happy.
In 4 of the 5 situations, this was ACT data that was being pulled into Excel. In the most recent one, though, it was from a vertical system written in Access. We’ve also done some in the past that pull in SQL data and data on websites – something you can now easily do with Powerpivot.
Not everything can be done in an Excel spreadsheet – but 95% can and most companies have Excel. Lot’s don’t have Crystal or other complex reporting tools. Excel is kind of the poor man’s reporting tool. We’ve done several Excel reporting projects and in all cases, except one which was related to a customer who could never make up their mind what the data would look like in a field – ie moving data targets – the customers were delighted. Thrilled in one case. There is power in data – there is power in knowing what is going on in your business.
If you think you have data you’d like to capture in an Excel report – give us a call or send us an email. We’d love to help.