The biggest player in the world of spreadsheets is still Microsoft Excel. Ever since it first emerged on the Macintosh (yes, Apple’s Macintosh) in 1985 and its first appearance on the Windows platform just two years later, Excel has become the go-to package when it comes to number crunching.
Despite the various pretenders to throne that have emerged since, Excel has taken its place at the top of the rows and columns when it comes to data analysis and data manipulation. It is used by practically everyone for any number of purposes, some quite basic, others fairly advanced. But for all its years of dominance, it is far from the perfect tool for many businesses.
With all the horror stories about data breaches that appear in the media on a regular basis, you might think the data held in Excel would be highly secure. You’d be wrong. Excel’s security is severely lacking when it comes to intrusions. It also doesn’t conform to many industry standards, many of which are to do with its aforementioned security flaws. There is also no audit trail. Excel simply doesn’t track the changes it makes. Sure the numbers can be easily changed, but it doesn’t include basic features like when it was changed, who changed it and how it was altered. Major problems for many organisations where multiple people may need access to the same document.
Let’s not forget we’re well into the 21st century now. No-one wants to keep emailing files backwards and forwards anymore. We want to share, we want to collaborate on the same document, at the same time. Excel’s inability to do this efficiently is one of its biggest weaknesses.
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