Business intelligence managers once talked longingly about weaning end users off their Excel addictions to help ensure that BI data remained consistent and secure. Yeah, right: In most cases, efforts to eradicate Excel from BI processes went nowhere, forcing BI teams to shift to a strategy of accommodating rather than eliminating it.
“We have fought the war for 20 years and we have lost,” said Boris Evelson, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. What BI managers need to do now, he added, is work to control and manage Excel BI use as best they can. For example, Evelson recommended that Excel be integrated with BI software that can export data to spreadsheets, enabling Excel to function more as a user interface and data presentation layer than as a data manipulation tool itself.