5 Reasons Excel Could Be Holding Your Business Back

5 Reasons Excel  Could Be Holding Your Business Back (a woman presents to her team in a conference room, pointing to an Excel spreadsheet on a large screen on the wall)

Excel has long been a critical workhorse software application in the business world. While it has its place for some data and finance functions, too many businesses use the application as a crutch far beyond the point they should. This is especially true when it comes to business and marketing reporting. 

Is it time for you to move on to a better data reporting experience? 

Here are 5 reasons why Excel could be holding you back.

  1. It’s not designed with reporting in mind

Excel wasn’t designed to be a sophisticated business intelligence reporting tool. Instead, it relies on manual data input, whether you’re directly doing data entry into your spreadsheet or importing the data from your everyday intelligence apps. There are also the manual tasks of identifying, calculating, and cobbling together the KPIs and other relevant data points that matter most to your business. 

This manual data management is not only time consuming but inefficient and ineffective, costing your business valuable resource hours better spent elsewhere.

Reporting applications remove the manual work from the equation and, once set up, allow you to have an automated process providing the specific data you want and scheduled when you need it. This automation also helps break down data silos across the organization with a streamlined data experience.

  1. There’s no real time data review

Business moves fast. Don’t run on old data.

Relying on a manual system of importing and managing data means by the time you input it and report on the KPIs you need, the numbers might already be obsolete. As you grow, you need access to real-time or near real-time data that’s accessible in minutes, not hours or days.

  1. There’s higher risk of error

Humans aren’t known for being infallible, especially when it comes to managing large data sets. The greater your volume of data and the more manual your reporting process, the higher the risk of error. One wrong keystroke, one accidental shift of a cell, one simple error can throw everything off. 

Automated data dashboards and reports keep the risk of human error low and give you the  peace of mind you’re making decisions based on accurate, real-time or near real-time data.

  1. Visualizations are limited

Humans are visual creatures. While some can make meaning from columns of numbers, many on your team need more visualizations to understand the story your data is telling. 

Excel’s chart capabilities can be a starting point, but at the end of the day they don’t provide the same level of visualizations many leading tools like Power BI or Tableau offer. You should be able to create visual reports that inspire your team, decision makers, and key stakeholders with actionable insights they can use to move your business forward.

  1. Files can be overwhelming

In many businesses today, data is spread across multiple worksheets, documents, and other data sources, making manual data manipulation more prone to error. It can also easily overwhelm the user AND the software. Applications designed for data management and reporting are better equipped to streamline significant amounts of data and help provide better business insights quickly.

Don’t let unsuitable business applications limit you in your critical reporting processes. Solutions Plus is here to help you identify and deploy the right business intelligence solution to better tell your impactful business story. 


Learn more about Solutions Plus’s reporting and visualization services.

Originally published July 12, 2023 10:21 PM, updated February 26, 2024


Data Visualization BI Dashboards Reporting