Excel, S&OP and the Comfortable Old Chair


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Rick Blair

dog-on-chair1I have an old recliner chair that’s so comfortable, I refuse to let it go. It’s various shades of green (much lighter in the seat area) and worn in the usual spots after 20 years of service.

Excel is a lot like that old chair. I’m often impressed by the creativity found in home-grown Excel planning spreadsheets. Typically, an individual has spent months or years to model the company’s forecasting and planning intricacies producing a complex set of worksheets with never-ending links and calculations. The net effect is that this individual is the only one who really understands the model. Obviously, if this wise individual were to leave the organization, the planning tool and process would break down or cease to function at all.

Smart organizations recognize this vulnerability and take steps to establish supportable enterprise-wide tools. And thus starts the internal battle over the apparent need to throw out Excel in favor of a scalable S&OP tool.

Newsflash: You don’t have to choose. You can have a collaborative, scalable S&OP solution and keep Excel. Enterprise Enabled Excel was expressly created to address the need to provide an organization-wide collaborative planning S&OP solution with the familiarity and ease-of-use of Excel as a front-end user interface.

Steelwedge Software provides a planning and forecasting environment using Excel coupled with a world-class, highly scalable, server-based enterprise planning infrastructure. You get all the advantages of Excel without the complexity, long learning curve and inflexibility of a traditional enterprise application.

Imagine a single planning application that offers ease of use, familiarity, power, flexibility, aggegration/disaggregation, qualitative notes tracking, waterfall reporting, offline capabilities, internal and external collaboration, security, scalability, drill down, data integrity, reduced data latency, and an archived Plan of Record.

The Steelwedge solution uses Excel templates supplemented by Internet Explorer (web browser-based) “pop-up” windows as the presentation interface to deliver a powerful next-generation planning application that leverages AJAX. Web Services, and XML technologies. E3 represents a radically new approach to managing your Excel-based planning process.

An enterprise S&OP tool with an Excel interface. The best of both worlds! Have your cake and eat it too! And…

Keep the comfortable chair!