When you think about the recent IT related social, economic and business changes that are affecting millions of lives – the first name that comes to your mind is undoubtedly Apple. How they constantly create simple yet elegant products that generate desire and unforgettable human experience is the hub and spoke of all business and product related discussion around the world today.
Apple relentless pursues and invests in creating the best products in the world for their users (regardless of the fact whether they are enterprise customers or just consumers) and demonstrates the permanent shift of a new trend that is sweeping the industry – simple and elegant user experience (UX) driven products – we refer to this sometimes as ‘Usability’.
Roll back 10, 20 and 30 years, perhaps we have witnessed a similar trend with VisiCalc, Lotus 1-2-3 and finally Microsoft Excel in transforming BCL (Business Computer Language) that in turn changed the personal computer to a business machine?
While such impacts of the Apple / web 2.0 usability is not new to us, I wonder how this new trend will play into the likes of simple database applications/list/ad-hoc reports/forecasting apps that are managed using good old PC-based spreadsheet utilities such as Microsoft Excel. Will spreadsheets morph into something else? Or, will we see a new way of managing data/simple apps and calculations on the web?
Wait a minute, if you are wondering why this discussion is even relevant – consider this; Microsoft gauges the number of Excel users worldwide at more than 500 million plus, and Forrester Research estimates 50 to 80 percent of enterprises still rely on stand-alone spreadsheets for critical applications like financial reporting or budget forecasting. And why will they not use spreadsheets? Is there any other tool that is available in every PC, lets you start in seconds and gets you to your ‘last mile’ activity as most CFO’s and Business Managers do with Excel in less than 5minutes?
The convenience coupled with the spreadsheet culture is addictive, even though we know its extent of abilities. Maybe there is a VOID in the market for addictive spreadsheet-type, online database application – a missing link that is holding 500 million users to go online…