MS Excel has been around for more than 30 years now. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella calls it his company’s most important consumer product. Accountants and bookkeepers swear by it, as do managers, small business owners and college students.
But mention Microsoft Excel to a software engineer, they would probably dismiss it as a primitive software, and instead talk about the various Excel alternatives, which they claim to be far superior to Excel.
Well, to an extent that is true. There are many business intelligence and data analytics software that do everything that Excel does, and provide many additional features as well.
But that doesn’t mean Excel is going away. Excel is not replaceable by any stretch of the imagination. Let’s discuss why.
Reason #1: Excel is Everywhere
One of the key factors behind Excel’s success is the all pervasiveness of the software. It is cheap, versatile and easy to install on your computer. For any software to be better than Excel, that has to be 10 times better, at least, and be easy to use as well.
There are certainly many software programs that do the same thing that Excel does and do that better as well – but none of them are as easy to use or set-up as Excel. Most people – accountants, tax professionals, bookkeepers, small business owners, students, etc.– have grown up on Excel and cannot imagine replacing that with any other software. As a result, Excel is everywhere and hard to replace.
Reason #2: Hard to Get a Job If You Don’t Know Excel
Are you very good with using Excel? Congratulations – that is a highly marketable skill. In fact, we would go so far as to suggest that you can’t get a job in the financial services industry – as well as in many other industries – if you are not familiar with Excel.
Every organization depends on Excel because it is easy to use, easy to work with and highly flexible. It really helps if you know how to get the most out of MS Excel; that could make you indispensable to your organization.
Reason #3: Resistance to Change
As said earlier, most of us have grown up on Excel. We have had Excel on our computers for decades. So it is very, very difficult for many of us to replace that with a new Analytics software, even one that is technologically superior to Excel.
Nobody likes change unless that improves their life in a significant manner. Organizations will stick to Excel because none of the Excel alternatives are so good that they make a material difference to them.
Excel gets the job done anyway, so why change? This resistance to change ensures that Excel will be around for many years to come.
As said earlier, if you want a job in the banking or financial services industry, you must be very good at using Excel. This is especially true for those of you who want to be data analysts.
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