Ventana Research coined the term “enterprise spreadsheet” in 2004 to describe software applications that marry a Microsoft Excel-like user interface with a business rules server and a relational or multidimensional data store. It allows people to work in a familiar environment and readily create analyses, tables and charts from enterprise data while avoiding the issues in data accuracy and consistency endemic to desktop spreadsheets used in repetitive, collaborative business tasks. One example of the enterprise spreadsheet is BizNet Software’s data consolidation and data reporting product. This software enables business users to work in a familiar environment while assembling reports from multiple ERP modules, operational systems or other data stores; using it, individuals in business roles can create and maintain reports that otherwise might have to be prepared by IT departments. It also increases efficiency in generating reports. In addition, BizNet is a cloud-based offering, thus requiring little ongoing IT department effort.
BizNet also provides a collection of tools to help users with its enterprise spreadsheet product. The BizNetCloud Engine assembles data through a live connection to a company’s databases (such as Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server), data warehouses and enterprise software such as its ERP systems. BizNetContent includes prebuilt reports, Excel functions and business intelligence. BizNetWorkstation enables users to quickly create reports that are connected to live data. BizNetBroadcast automatically distributes reports to recipients in Excel, Acrobat or HTML formats. And because unlike in desktop systems these reports are connected to the data stores, executives and other consumers of the reports can refresh the data themselves.
Although BizNet will not replace a corporation’s core BI systems, it does enable most midsize and larger companies to manage their self-service reporting requirements more efficiently, accurately and securely. We recommend that finance and IT departments investigate how much they could benefit from using this sort of technology instead of desktop spreadsheet-based reporting.