My opinion on Excel and Power BI

If I were Microsoft, I would have a plan for the future for Excel and Power BI, and I would be telling everyone about it. This would be my plan:

1) There would be a basic form of Excel. It would NOT have any add-ins to enable. It would not have any enhancements beyond what exists today. It would work on any device. It would NOT include the Data Model. The new Office apps would work seamlessly with it. Without having any hard statistics, I am guessing that > 98% of Excel users outside of a work environment would be extremely happy with this product.

2) Office 365 – no changes – mainly for corporate use.

3) The new product would be Power Excel. Excel as it currently exists would be integrated with the new Power BI tools. The VBA object model would be expanded so that all of the BI “components” would be fully programmable/automatable inside SharePoint and with other Office products. It could toggle between SharePoint installed on corporate systems and SharePoint in the cloud. An app on any device could access and run Power Excel loaded on a server. The argument against VBA for enterprise applications has always been that the code was not secure and not compiled. Code in Power Excel files would be “protected” by SharePoint, thus making an outside programming solution unnecessary.

So, I would do this and make sure that my customers knew the details of my long-term plan so that they could make timely business decisions based on that information.

It’s probably obvious based on my comments here that I have no inside knowledge of what Microsoft intends to do in the future, but it is my hope that their vision is similar to this.

2 thoughts on “My opinion on Excel and Power BI

  1. Biggus Dickus

    I completely agree David.

    My only concern are

    1. that many companies will opt for the “basic” version and getting them to allow the Power Excel one could become a political issue in many Corporations. But I think this may be the way it has to go.

    2. I’m also not sure if Microsoft will/can produce a version of VBA that’ll work in all those environments other than Windows. Personally only in Windows would be fine with me but obviously Microsoft thinks that the most important thing is that Excel run on your Windows Phone and I can’t see them dedicating any resources to a “Power Excel” unless they have a HUGE change of heart … which ain’t gonna happen 😦


  2. excelmiracles

    Interesting take on PowerBI tools.. As a start I would want them to introduce more flexibility into Power BI and tap the many bugs / shortcomings of these tools.. Personally I am a big fan of it but get frustrated when I have to perform workarounds for basic stuff.


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