Excel 2007 How To Combine Multiple Formulas For One Cell Business Drivers Behind the Online Spreadsheet Boom

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Business Drivers Behind the Online Spreadsheet Boom

Last night, a factory manager in Singapore looked at his Dell Latitude to update his master inventory by his supplier in Korea. Meanwhile, in Seoul, emails are exchanged between inventory clerks at three factories to produce the final document.

Yesterday afternoon a CFO presented the financials for the quarterly board report. This morning his administrator realized that the most recent HR data was in HRversion5.xls, not the HRversion4.xls he had been using.

The national sales manager ultimately received monthly forecast spreadsheets from six regional managers, who each collected spreadsheets from their respective sales teams. Although it took two hours to painstakingly combine all the data, the cut-and-paste errors produced more than $1 million in forecast revenue.

Business Transformation 101

How can such incidents keep repeating? Don’t companies spend billions of dollars each year on IT infrastructure to coordinate such things? Don’t core business systems include applications to control production, inventory, sales activity, and finance?

Of course they do. And the open secret is this: they don’t work. can’t

Manufacturers of ERP, supply chain management, CRM systems and others have focused on managing the internal operations of the enterprise. In many cases, they don’t apply to the way business is done today. Tom Friedman helped describe the new borderless globe in The World Is Flat. There is now little dispute that the primary locus of business conduct is outside the four walls of the mother institution and disconnected from the infrastructure that governs it.

Employees working in home offices, overseas-based vendors, and field sales teams scattered across five continents must function and interact while disconnected from their respective corporate IT assets. As needed, they improve. They use tools they know and tools they share.

What began as a stop-gap workaround has now become the de facto standard for intra-company and intercontinental trade. Outlook and Excel have become functional core applications for 21st century collaboration and productivity.

So what’s the problem?

Excel was designed as a personal productivity tool, but is now relied upon as the linchpin of enterprise-class performance in a “flat world.” Every week, millions of Excel spreadsheets circle the globe launched from Starbucks, airline lounges, and office cubicles. For internal applications and data, corporate IT enforces security, version control, user rights, backups and permissions. But Excel is out there. It is on almost every computer worldwide and can be created, edited – and thanks to email – wherever, and whenever, there is a Wi-Fi connection.

Email can be a double-edged sword. Over the past 15 years, it has become an indispensable, global communication tool. It’s the number one method for file transfer – whether a daily cartoon, a pdf, a YouTube movie, or an Excel file. It is convenient, universal, and instant. And although this is a key component of the Excel workaround, while helping to solve one problem, it creates a host of others.

Control: After you click send, the file is no longer under your control. What can be (and probably is) sensitive corporate data is in the hands of people you can only hope are trustworthy.

Time email is sequential. If you need input from multiple people, you depend on opening, contributing, and resubmitting the document in a timely manner. Now who is the man of this chain? How are they progressing? When will I get the file back?

responsibility: So who changed what, why and when? Are you working with the latest version or is there someone else editing it further? And with the increasing presence of Sarbanes Oxley, tracking the formation of work products is now a corporate imperative.

Security: There are good reasons why a company spends millions of dollars on protecting its servers and data. In the wrong hands, company secrets can be exposed or employee information can be compromised.

Email and Office applications have come a long way in the last 20 years. But despite the business imperative and reliance on these technologies, in their current state, they represent a Band-Aid, not a breakthrough.

Community

The concept of “community” is not new. The idea of ​​two or more people being bound by a common interest can be traced back to the earliest efforts of man. More recently, and thanks to the development of the Web, thousands of “communities” have sprung up to serve people with specific hobbies, interests, or political leanings.

The advent of Web 2.0 technology has led to hosted communities where members can interact with people of mutual interest. Sites like MySpace and Facebook were the first to exploit the Internet community concept. For the most part, these sites are geared toward consumers and individuals who interact on their personal time. But what about business? Is the concept of community relevant to them? Absolutely – in spades!

The supplier in Singapore who sends the product to the factory manager in Omaha, along with the COO at the New York headquarters, are members of the community. Their common bond is the mission to produce the product on time and on budget. Their communication links include telephone, fax and email. These types of ad hoc relationships may not feature a formal label, but they are communities. By necessity and custom, communities are a fact of business life. As they grow, the challenge of controlling and maximizing productivity becomes a primary pursuit.

Manage communities

The concept of managing community is emerging as the holy grail to command a new business paradigm. Billions of dollars invested in traditional IT infrastructure—sophisticated application suites, bullet-proof security, and armies of IT professionals—are impotent to extend benefits and control to dispersed workforces and communities.

A prescription for success in online business community management should focus on several key issues.

Security: After you email a file/document, you no longer control its distribution. It is permanently in the possession of the recipient who does what they can with it; Today, tomorrow, or next year. Your company’s intellectual property is now one click away from being in the public domain.

support: Often, many people are needed to contribute to a given project. This is especially true for spreadsheets. Waiting for a response from an email sequentially forwarded to 12 people is not helpful; It is more of a series of letters.

Conformity: Collaboration, communication and productivity are less likely if the community works from different devices or applications. Microsoft Office products are on more than 400 million computers worldwide. Excel is the gold standard of spreadsheets and is used by 9 out of every 10 business people in the world.

novelty: Today’s communities have different needs than their cubicle-based predecessors. Ideally, a community structure would not only accommodate, it would provide productivity features not currently available in native Excel or corporate applications.

Defensive activism: On the surface, an oxymoron; But regulation and accountability are realities to be faced head on. Where is the documentation of who changed which cells and when? A solid, auditable paper trail is an absolute necessity.

breath Why do people need software as a service? Because they want immediate real-time applications. The SaaS concept is the cornerstone of delivering online communities. Security and always available information is managed for community members with centralized control.

Online secure storage: The only way to have a current version of the truth is to have a current document that everyone has access to. And without files on any personal computer, data will never be compromised or lost.

Express

eXpresso is a software infrastructure that adds a sharable dimension. It is a Web 2.0 hosted workspace for Microsoft Office applications. The first offering is for Excel spreadsheet management and collaboration in secure, structured business communities. eXpresso was developed on the principles and standards mentioned earlier in this document.

eXpresso users include small workgroups, cross-enterprise project members, and dispersed sales teams. Corporate finance departments and compliance specialists use eXpresso to control the gathering and reporting of accounting documents.

No attempt is made here to detail all Expresso features or contrast them with alternatives. An interactive product tour is available at eXpressoCorp.com and interested parties can try Expresso for free. Sample highlights:

Create or edit Excel spreadsheets online in real time

Store Excel spreadsheets in a secure, encrypted central repository

Share and share spreadsheets with individuals and groups

Assign or revoke viewing, editing, downloading, or copying privileges

Compare cell and formula differences between spreadsheets with one-click

Why Excel?

One clear difference between eXpresso Spreadsheet Management and the online options is eXpresso’s support for Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Many of these other products promote online alternatives to Excel. Competing with Microsoft for office application market share is certainly ambitious. But there’s little evidence that people want a new spreadsheet; What they want is a common dimension they already use.

Today’s mobile, dispersed workforce faces communication and productivity challenges (as described earlier) that have little to do with the capabilities of typical spreadsheet applications. The real problem is the lack of structure to serve the millions of communities that already have their favorite spreadsheet: Excel. Offering a generic spreadsheet with little functionality does nothing to improve collaboration or support for business communities.

A commitment to supporting Excel users is based on three principles at the forefront of the eXpresso philosophy.

1. There is nothing wrong with Excel. In fact, it is one of the most reliable applications in the world. And, a spreadsheet application can’t be instant without Excel – if you have to learn something new, it’s not instant.

2. The second reason can be described with a number: 150 million. This is a global estimate of Excel business users who are prime candidates to become immediate Expresso users.

3. Beyond the raw numbers, Excel has been established as the spreadsheet business standard for many years. People know it, like it, and use it.

conclusion

The traditional structure of business is rapidly becoming obsolete – driven by fundamental changes in the way people work, the way organizations interact, and the traditional barriers of boundaries and time zones are disappearing.

One way to accommodate change is to formalize structure into naturally occurring communities of like-minded professionals. The Web 2.0 concept is an important foundation and enabler for using the Internet to provide community management and specialized application services.

Offers in the online service sector will continue to grow. In the spreadsheet market in particular, potential users will gravitate toward a service that offers features that are universally valued.

Outlook and Excel are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.

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