Have you ever thought of what’s the most popular business application ever? Is there any statistics by Gartner-Shmartner?
May be there is, may be there is not, but I have my own opinion (as usual). Ready? The most popular business application is Microsoft Excel. Lots of business users request, understand and feel comfortable with this spreadsheet tool.
Try to offer them a nicely created report…Nay…Just give it to me in Excel format. Ad-hoc report? Most likely they want it in Excel. You can even write database queries against any database that has an ODBC driver right from Excel.
Some more advanced users write complex formula for the what-if scenarios. Some of the users have become para-programmers and maintain secret databases in a form of a spreadsheet. They will resist fiercely if their IT department will try to take away this database and merge the data with a real DBMS. The Generation X.
Excel is probably the most popular Microsoft’s product after Windows. So Microsoft was peacefully resting on its laurels, but
Google came from behind with Google Spreadsheets: shareable spreadsheets on the Web. Today they made available just a limited test version of the product. Can this product be considered a serious punch into Microsoft’s face? Microsoft does not seem to be scared.