Microsoft Excel is a very robust thinking engine, but no one ever said it was pretty. It can be somewhat difficult to use Excel to get the visual effect you might be looking for, and thus, it suffers somewhat as a reporting tool. Data’s great and all, but unless it’s organized into something meaningful, it has a hard time communicating anything. What’s more, it lacks features we now find critical, like live-updating, file sharing, and integration with other apps.
So for those of us who have found Excel a little wanting, here are some Excellent resources that can help you punch up your reporting and get the most out of it.
Domo is to an analyst’s toolbelt like a multi-tool is to a handyman: it does pretty much everything. From charts and graphs data, to cloud services, to collaboration tools, and—most relevant here—an Excel dashboard, it covers the breadth and width of business needs, for BI developers, BI analysts, and everyone in-between.
Smartsheet is more than just spreadsheets—it’s a collaboration tool. Used to assign, manage, and share projects and tasks, the software can easily and seamlessly connect your team and increase visibility during the process of completing the task. With file sharing and support for a wide variety of apps like G suite, it can be a big boost to productivity.
“The genesis of ZingChart came out of a Web analytics platform that needed an interactive client-side charting solution.” What was seen as a serious dirth in available platforms back in 2008 quickly turned into a revolutionary solution a year later with ZingChart. Self-proclaimed pursuers of “agnostic coding,” they strive to get their platform to work with anything and everything. Odds are, if you have an app or program you’re beholden to, they can work with it.
Wolfram Research was founded in 1987 by Stephen Wolfram, a physicist and computer scientist. Since then, the company has become a serious force in computational science. They wrote their own computer language, developed Mathematica (a technical computing tool), and WolframAlpha (a computational knowledge tool). Relevant to our topic, their Mathematica Link for Excel ties the two programs together, allowing Mathematica to do some of the heavy lifting, and create some impressive graphs and charts. For those looking to crunch some scientifically big numbers, Wolfram is the way to go.
For those of you looking for a solution that even the less-than-tech-savvy members of the team can use, DataHero is the place to start. They boast cloud connection without IT assistance and intuitive interface that makes creating charts and graphs easy even for non-analysts. The ease of use makes it a perfect choice for anyone seeking a “simple yet powerful” solution.
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