When Excel Won’t Do: How Successful Companies Replace Spreadsheets with Real-Time Analytics and Dashboards
Microsoft Excel has been helping construction professionals create pie charts, track data, and crunch numbers for decades. Many companies consider the software a primary tool for employees to access and complete their work. And it’s not without good reason — Excel is relatively easy to use and can perform a long list of accounting tasks like a champ. However, when it comes to construction software, construction accounting, financial reporting and data analysis, Excel is being increasingly relegated to “legacy tool” status.
Machine learning* offers striking improvements over Excel across several categories and companies experiencing rapid growth stand to gain the most marked benefits from transitioning to automation-enhanced accounting and analysis tools.
*Disclaimer; ML/AI is actually just little robots following orders and doing tasks your staff normally would be. Easy peasy, right?
Eight Reasons to Convert to Analytics
Traditional spreadsheets are fine for straightforward tasks that involve limited data sets. However, “limited” is the key descriptor here. Analytics tools have the potential to transform your accounting and analysis capabilities and allow you to pull new insights from your data. These eight enhancements make an intelligent analytics platform a clear winner against Excel:
1. Automated Reporting
AI-based analytics can create real-time, on-demand reports and deliver them to internal and external stakeholders. The best part? The whole process is automated, meaning you don’t have to go hunting for information and build these overwhelming, error-prone spreadsheets manually.
2. Connectivity for All
Most people aren’t aware that the reporting tools out of your accounting or project management system only represent about 13% of the data in your entire business. A robust analytics platform uses 7x more data points to give you insights across your entire business, not just your project management software or accounting application.
3. Higher Capacity
Excel struggles with large data files. Analytics platforms, on the other hand, can handle enormous amounts of data stored in multiple locations. It makes it easy to merge datasets automatically versus the clunky, manual Excel process.
4. Better Visualizations
Pie charts and line graphs are great, but when you need a more in-depth analysis of disparate data relationships, analytics is the answer. Visualizations that incorporate geodata or complex financial analysis can provide a clearer analytical picture.
5. Faster Visualizations
Creating a complex dashboard can be just as hard in Power BI as in Excel. Why? There’s still a human required to manually type in figures and produce results. Modern analytics platforms are already plumbed into your systems, so data is updated in real time and dashboards can be created in mornings, not months.
6. Collaborative Capabilities
Need to get input from key team members before moving ahead with a timely purchase? Analytics platforms allow multiple users to view and adjust the same files from anywhere, all while in the cloud.
7. Security Enhancements
Excel files are not only prone to human error, they are also highly susceptible to theft and cybersecurity concerns. Most Excel files are email or passed around on shared drives and they do not have security requirements for accessing sensitive data. Analytics platforms make your financial data more secure, and make it easier to prevent data loss or theft.
8. Scalability Implications
The robust power of cloud-based analytics platforms allow for incredibly fast scalability. There is effectively no limit on dataset size.
Another critical consideration is the chance for human error. Because Excel functions often require manual manipulation, there’s a high risk for data entry inaccuracies. Data entry tasks are often a significant issue with Excel processes. Apart from accuracy concerns, arduous double-entry is often required to complete an accurate forecast or to create a co-mingled report. Companies can eliminate this wasted time through automation.
Real-Time Analytics Can Change the Way You Do Business
When your company is ready to scale, you don’t want to be held back by familiar but limited tech. The insights gained from real-time analyses can help you streamline, scale, and improve the foundational elements of your company.
To see how Briq's products are eliminating double data entry, preventing fee erosion, and revolutionizing the way construction companies across the U.S. enhance their Fees, book your complimentary demo HERE.