Imagine There’s No Excel

“I love Excel,” Jim Burleigh, CEO of software-as-a-service (SaaS) sales forecasting and management provider Cloud9, says rhapsodically. “Excel is the number-one forecasting, inventory-management system in the world. It’s everywhere. So pervasive. So flexible. Under your control. Amazingly cheap and powerful.”

Of course, those encomiums all come with a “but.”

“But,” says Adaptive Planning president Rob Hull, who founded the company because of his frustration with the time he had to spend inputting data in Excel, sending it out in e-mails, making sure the right people had the right versions, and error checking, “if you have a process that requires integrating data from other sources — SaaS or on-premises — and if you need to consolidate it and add analytics and share that broadly over a number of players who are going to add their own stuff, Excel is a poor application for that.”

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