Interesting piece by Victor Fagundo over on the ORACLENERD (@oraclenerd) blog comparing Microsoft Excel and Business Intelligence (BI) for financial analysis and why that fight was over before it started. Well worth a read. So, Excel is not going away, by a long shot. The article offers insights into why user experience (UX) is about how people work, and not just about how they click.
Microsoft Excel is well loved in the enterprise, especially by the accounting department, but others too live and die by it on a daily basis. Granted, the UX research shows that the use of Excel in the enterprise confirms to something like the 10/90/90 paradigm (10% of the functionality is used by 90% of people 90% of the time), but what features are used and how can be studied and reflected in modern desktop UX.
Excel is a work tool and therefore needs to be integrated into what users do, and not replaced. But the more productivity that’s built into that integration the better. Oracle ADF and Oracle Fusion Applications have some great Excel integration solutions for the financial folks, allowing ADF tables to behave in an Excel-like way, as well as being able to easily create journals in Excel and being able to import them back into the financial system. Of course, once the data is in the system, we can do a lot more with it - and that’s where BI comes in, for example.
As for Microsoft Outlook, again, it’s a favorite tool by some in the enterprise. Take CRM sales people. They hate the notion of enterprise apps and just want to use whatever apps and tools they’re familiar with to do one thing… complete that sale! And yes, one of those tools is Outlook.
Again, Fusion Apps has an Outlook integration to keep those sales deals closing. And when we’ve got that sales and other CRM data in the cloud we can do a lot more with it too, offering all sorts of optimized UIs for other roles too.
You can read more about this kind of enterprise apps UX fundamentals on the Usable Apps blog.