Financial Markets Spreadsheet research

Got a great link the other day.

Its to a bunch of reports Microsoft commissioned into Excel usage in the financial Markets.

(See the Research box)

The link came from the Eusprig newsgroup.

And was posted by Ralph Baxter of ClusterSeven, purveyors of serious spreadsheet management tools.

It would be worth your time to read those reports, those are exactly the sort of thing that inform where the Excel and Office teams invest in future versions.

It great to see MS dipping it hand in its pocket for this sort of stuff

  1. Because no one else can afford it
  2. It should show them how important this stuff is



7 Responses to “Financial Markets Spreadsheet research”

  1. Harlan Grove Says:

    Have you checked out the Excel Team blog lately. They have some filmclips of Project Gemini, and in the first one the speaker makes a passing comment about how BI users think of the model, but Excel users just do a few lookups and pivot tables. Very telling about Microsoft’s view of Excel users.

  2. Marcus from London Says:

    While it’s good to get some industry metrics (they’re fairly scant) , it’s worth being aware that in some organisations ‘research’ is spelt ‘m-a-r-k-e-t-i-n-g’. Also 65 respondents (given the size of the finance industry) is disappointing and hardly a representative population sample.

    Some of the questions are also intriguing (in the Spreadsheets and Capital Markets doc): ‘How many business critical spreadsheets exist in your organisation’. I’d wager that most organisations have no idea how many spreadsheets that actually have, let alone a tally of their criticality. And for the next question (last audit), surely ‘not sure’ = ‘never’.

    Cheers – Marcus

  3. Simon Says:

    Harlan, Yep I went there, but you need silverlight, which I have no intention of installing, (or moonlight).

    Marcus yep good point on margeting. The value for me is to see what MS are pushing.

    I have done critical spreadsheet projects before and its a bit of a farce. Most of the time is spent arguing about the definition of critical to get the ‘right’ number of spreadsheets included.

  4. Stephane Rodriguez Says:

    Harlan said “about how BI users think of the model, but Excel users just do a few lookups and pivot tables.”

    What is true is that Excel spirit is made of rows and cells, while modern BI is made of objects projected on axis.

    “They have some filmclips of Project Gemini”

    I have taken a look at this. Hard to be overwhelm since that belongs to SQL Server, not Excel. After all, all what Gemini is is a faster SQL service. But where it falls flat is that Excel users typically mix MULTIPLE data sources including Excel spreadsheets, not just SQL data. Gemini is thus very good for demos, and for specific niches (where non-Microsoft products already have a variant of this available), but it’s not going to change anything of the normal Excel user. Microsoft knows this already, probably why they will make leave it as an add-in, not part of the product.

  5. Marcus from London Says:

    “modern BI is made of objects projected on axis”

    Interesting (and accurate observation) Stephane.

    Increasingly the BI’s I’ve worked with are moving calculations away from the spreadsheet on to dedicated servers.
    The results are returned as objects which can be manipulated or queried from Excel either using custom worksheet functions or VBA.

    One benefit is performance given the volume of data and complexity of many of the calculations. More importantly is security as the calculation engine is a server-based black box which the end user can’t manipulate.

    For these proposes, this moves Excel closer to an Expensive (grid) GUI.

    Regards – Marcus

  6. Marcus from London Says:

    proposes / purposes

  7. Bob Phillips Says:

    An advanntage of the addin is that new relesaes of Gemini can come out without a new release of Excel, which MIGHT be good news.

    I agree that in its current iteration being able to only have one cube per workbook is a shortcoming, but I bet MS would argue that we could always send it back to AS in SQL Server!

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