Use Microsoft® Excel Differently to Gain a Productive Edge
Issue - Sep 2012
Recently I purchased a laptop at the Comex show for home use. While setting up the laptop, I realized that I had forgotten to acquire a copy of MS Office, which was usually cheaper at the show. As the MS Office was urgently needed on the new laptop, I quickly downloaded a trial copy so that I could buy some time to explore cheaper alternatives. The delay paid off with my new found discovery that MS Office cost only $15 if I purchased it through the Home Use Program (HUP), which was an add-on benefit for employees if their companies purchased Software Assurance for the MS Office licenses. To find out if your company has an HUP, check with your IT guys. Ask them if they have purchased the Software Assurance (SA) together with the MS Office licenses.
Benefits of Software Assurance for the Company
HUP is just one of the many benefits bundled in the SA. With the SA, the company can look forward to installing the latest version of MS Office 2013 at no extra cost when it is launched next year. The SA is for companies which have purchased more than 5 copies of MS Office through Volume Licensing. Buying MS Office through volume licensing allows our company to install different versions of Excel in our computers. This is useful for companies which have to tackle with the many different versions of Excel in the office. With volume licensing, you can install an earlier version of MS Office into the new computers so that all are working with the same version of MS Office. When all the computers are replaced, you can do a one-time upgrade to the latest version of MS Office for all the computers, so that all your staff is working with a single version of Office at any one time. There are also other benefits in Volume Licensing and Software Assurance. You can find out about them in this link.
We were recently engaged by a Fortune 500 company to create a set of charts (commonly known as a dashboard) to help them monitor their sales potential in the region. Before this, they were reviewing the sales forecast for each country separately and have to refer to many spreadsheets (all numbers) for the regional and global accounts. As too much time was spent calculating the sales for these accounts manually and therefore, they decided to approach us to help them solve the problem.
Presenting the numbers visually in charts is always a good option as charts are easier to
read and understand than interpreting rows and rows of numbers. Drawing simple charts is a
piece of cake for the client and they could have easily completed it all by themselves. The
main problem in this project is however in the consolidation of the numbers in the spreadsheet
for drawing the charts. If done manually, my clients would require a few days to manually update
the charts. So we recommended using dynamic formulas like INDEX, OFFSET, MATCH and SUMPRODUCT
for the calculations. Based on these formulas and other functions in Excel, a dynamic dashboard
was created. Everything ran automatically like a program. All they had to do was updating the data
worksheet and the Excel formulas would take over to update the charts. Other than automatically
updating the charts,
You can now download and experience the interactivity of this dashboard (sanitised version) by
compeleting the form below:
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everydayExcel Business Lab Pte Ltd
Author of "Hidden Secrets of Data Analysis with Excel" and
"Excel Secrets for Highly Effective Marketers"
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