We spoke to members of the Excel modelling team at consultancy Deloitte. Partner Martyn Sullivan heads a team of people solving other people’s trickiest Excel problems. Between them there can’t be too much the team hasn’t seen before in Excel. Given that the team’s future is tied to Excel you might expect them to be on the look out for technologies that are going to sneak up and dent their livelihood. They’re just not seeing that alternatives to Excel have any power yet though.
“You know the Qwerty keyboard” said Charles Lamb, one of the key members of Deloitte’s Excel modelling team.
“Yes, of course”.
“Do you see the Qwerty keyboard disappearing any time soon?” asked Charles.
We could see what Charles was saying. There are some alternative keyboard layouts out there. You can dictate into your computer if you really want to. The Qwerty keyboard may not seem perfect and theoretically it could be replaced but it’s been around for a long time. It’s very strongly embedded with users. Like a world without the Qwerty keyboard it’s hard to imagine life without Excel now.
Not surprisingly, for a group of people that spends all day working with Excel, the team has some clear ideas about what Microsoft could do to improve the product from here. Fixing some of the existing bugs would be a start. Getting rid of the animated interface in the newer versions would be an improvement (the animations that make numbers jump about a bit in front of your eyes and just slow things down). The team could also see Microsoft taking Excel down the database route which might appeal to certain specialist users. Making the product more accessible to a novice user would be an improvement, as would a product where multiple users can really work on the same spreadsheet at the same time without causing any file conflicts (perhaps by allowing individual users to lock parts of a spreadsheet while they are working there).
It seems that Excel’s existing users have plenty of ideas about how Microsoft could take the initiative to make this (great) product even better!
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Did you know...
One of Martyn’s team members took our course before getting her job in the modelling group at Deloitte?
Here you can see Julie’s review of the course she took.