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Excel is Still Not an Enterprise Reporting Solution
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Re: Cultural resistance
  • 1/30/2017 12:04:19 PM
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Not unusual for directors to not know how to use the software that employees are suppose to know and be SME on.  You touch upon a critical aspect - that small business is really impacted by leadership with limited practical knowledge on software essential for tactics and strategy.

Re: Change resistant
  • 1/30/2017 11:31:46 AM
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Good point Joe about misuse. It speaks to the idea about how tools can be misused by being mistrained on their usage. Excel is not for every situation, but like many spreadsheets, its value depends on the user intent and information contained in the file. It is possible to poorly train people on how to use the full capabilities of a software and extract value. 

Re: Cultural resistance
  • 1/30/2017 1:01:31 AM
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When  I worked for major tech company the scenior director who was in charge of user experience and had been with the company for 25 years did not even have the basic understanding of Excel.  

Now let's talk about smaller companies where that is just the norm.  Sadly, the most advance analytical solution is the lowest common demonitor of expertise. 

Re: Cultural resistance
  • 1/29/2017 12:40:13 PM
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Now that you mention it, Joe, I realize that learning how to draw ERDs might actually be more valuable than learning program logic. Tools like Airtable make it easier to build databases for practically anything, but what use would the tool be if the user can't design a database structure? On the other hand, while I love the intellectual rigor of programming, it's hardly ever useful to a person who doesn't do it for a living.

Re: Cultural resistance
  • 1/29/2017 12:30:28 PM
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@Tricia In my experience, it's the boss's boss who calls him out. Not learning technology that the company has decided to use is a perfirmance issue.

Re: Cultural resistance
  • 1/28/2017 12:31:13 AM
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Hey @Joe, how about we just not load Excel onto people's computers from day 1. If they don't have it, they can't use it, no?

Re: Cultural resistance
  • 1/26/2017 4:10:28 PM
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@Joe. I wonder if it's the company that clings to Excel as a reporting tool or the individuals who have used for everything over the years and can't let go.

Re: Cultural resistance
  • 1/26/2017 11:14:45 AM
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@TriciaAA: At the end of the day, I believe that you'll inherently have more trouble getting companies to switch to a different tool -- which will require added investment and training -- than in getting companies to implement more/better training on the tools they're already using.

And then, if you're especially clever, assuming you do a good job on the training, you can drop hints in that training process and the planning and post-mortem processes as to how other tools can do even more and/or do things better...and then get interest that way.

Re: Cultural resistance
  • 1/25/2017 10:45:46 AM
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@Broadway: As the old saying goes, leave it to man to blame the problems of his feet on his shoes.

Pardon me for saying so, but it seems to me that, by that logic, whenever somebody does something stupid and isn't paying attention and accidentally hurts themselves in a workshop with a bandsaw or other power tool, we should start seriously discussing a ban on power tools in workshops.

Tools of any kind require knowledge and a certain degree of training (even if it's just a few minutes of "DO IT LIKE THAT" and "NEVER DO THIS").  If you don't have training on, say, R (which is super powerful and nifty and open source and all that fun stuff, but also is--I'm sorry--NOT intuitive to use) or SAS or whatever, you're gonna screw that up too.

FWIW, I remember being taught how to use Excel in high school.  The teacher, walking behind us once, stopped behind me, looked at my screen and what I was doing, and marveled at how far I had gotten in an assignment -- and by doing things that he had not taught us yet.

He asked me how I knew how to do what I had just done.

I said, somewhat sheepishly, "I didn't.  I just clicked on Help."

At that point, he stopped the entire class, got everyone's attention, and spent the next minute or two emphasizing the importance of what I had just done -- clicking on Help.

Sorry, but you won't convince me that this stuff is hard.

And Microsoft Office is ubiquitous.  So there's really no excuse for not learning the fundamentals if you're going to work in an office environment.

Moreover, MSFT Office technology hasn't changed too much since my high school days.  On a side note, therefore, I'd humbly suggest that we'd do better to have better computer and technology training in the public-school classroom than spend so much time focusing on the standard stuff that nobody ever needs to know (absent it being a key part of their profession) and everybody forgets in a year anyway.

Re: Cultural resistance
  • 1/22/2017 9:21:03 AM
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But Joe, if users commonly have problems with a tool, isn't it an indication that the tool isn't easy to use, and if so, not such a good tool? If a tool is meant to be used widespread --- and Excel is on nearly every computer at work --- shouldn't it be designed for ease of use?

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