‘’Is Microsoft excel still relevant for building dashboards in the times that we are in?’’ This is a question several of our clients have posed to us at different times in the past 12 months.
The same question is also trending in finance and business communities globally. In this article, we hope to offer clarity to this long-standing question.
First, what is a dashboard?
A dashboard is a visual tool used to track, analyze, and display key performance indicators (KPI), business metrics, and key data points to check the health of a business department or specific process.
For a long time, dashboards were mainly built using Microsoft Excel but recently, a lot of tech companies have emerged and some of them have developed different dashboard templates.
Some of these templates include marketing and sales dashboards, operations dashboards, performance dashboards amongst many others.
We know where the shoes pinches. Some modern professionals find Excel more tedious because you’re literally building from scratch. But with the new templates available, you don’t need to start from scratch anymore. We very much understand this concern.
However, one thing to note is that, with excel, you only need to build from scratch once. Yes, only once. You can automate your dashboard to reflect changes when you enter new data. More on that later.
Here, we have listed 4 fundamental reasons why using Excel is still significant when building dashboards today.
1. Excel is a universal tool
In talking about Excel being a universal tool, we can look at it from two angles:
– its ease of use
– its ease of distribution
The ease of use: There are a sizeable number of people who use Excel daily for their work activities. This makes it easier to stack upon knowledge since they are already familiar with Excel. They can simply learn more worksheet functions and combinations that will enable them to build dashboards.
As an individual, using this knowledge to your advantage can be a propeller in increasing your reporting skills, efficiency, and possibly a promotion! On the other hand, as a company head, you can save money on software expenditure since your employees can simply use the tool, they are familiar with.
You can be rest assured with proper training, any of your employees can build a dashboard and use them to analyze and present their own departmental metrics.
The ease of distribution: Again, because Excel is a universal tool, it is easy to export your dashboard to someone who has the Excel software installed. This may most likely be impossible with other dashboard templates.
Another advantage is you can easily integrate Excel with other Microsoft office products.
2. It is highly customizable
Using Microsoft Excel to build dashboards allows you to exercise your creativity in terms of how you want the dashboard to look. Excel has a great ability to produce superb quality reports due to its wide range of color schemes, fonts, charting designs, etc.
Excel also allows for flexibility as users can easily move things around such as replacing charts and graphs, adding new charts, symbols, or new metrics to measure.
3. Suitability for Small businesses
This point is particularly useful for entrepreneurs/leaders of small or relatively new businesses. Most of the available templates tend to be too complicated, expensive, and generalized for small-scale businesses that need bespoke solutions. Excel is simple enough to fit your needs perfectly whilst also being inexpensive and very analytical.
4. Powerful data analysis capacity
Excel can handle millions of data and analyze them easily using certain functions. This makes it easy to work with when trying to summarize data visually. It is also easy to spot errors in an excel cell and fix it quickly without causing too many disruptions to the dashboard.
Want to learn how to build automated dashboards in excel?
Building beautiful, automated dashboards in excel doesn’t have to be a time-wasting task. We’ve designed our ‘How to Build Automated Dashboard Course’ to help you learn all the basics in 1 hour. Enroll here now and get a massive discount on the course.
Abdulsamod Balogun leads Communications and Public Relations at Leonine Investment Services Limited. He's excited about new media, technology and public policy. When he's not working, he's catching up on movies and books.