14 May, 2015

Are we Excel junkies?

Excel is a fantastic tool. I use it every day at work, and I’m always amazed at how much you can do with it. However, recently I’ve been thinking: are we addicted to Excel?

Often, my inbox is full of Excel spreadsheets containing lists of the names, graphs, or schedules; all very nicely arranged. The question I always as myself when this happens is: How could this be done better? quicker? more efficiently?

The stock answer to many of these things is ‘yes’. The problem with Excel files is that they can’t be easily edited by others (without a costly subscription to Office 365). Would it not be better to create a Google Document that can be shared and viewed by others?

I am aware that many organisations and individuals prefer the Google Doc, but there is still a preference for bulky, non-collaborative Excel files shared as attachments to be sent around.

Perhaps this is due to Excel being seen as the ‘industry standard’, or the fact that many people are trained to use it throughout school, and on courses. It is also pushed very heavily by organisations as a ‘safe option’.

I think that part of the problem is that Google Docs is still seen as ‘unknown’. It hasn’t had as much time to embed into our tech psyche as Excel. It is still seen as quite a new product (it is relatively new) and will need time to bed in.

Don’t get me wrong Excel has its place, I wouldn’t dream of doing a large complex spreadsheet in Google Docs. But for day to day collaborative efforts, perhaps we should give Google a chance?

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