Why Office? “Our business runs on Excel.”

I am Jennifer Kensok and I am a product manager in the Office Enterprise business.  I work with a lot of customers, and sometimes I wonder if customers could use Excel alone to run a business. From what I have heard from customers, Excel 2010 with PowerPivot is the best bet yet for any frugal companies out there hoping to get the most out of their data while minimizing their costs. Excel 2010 does most of the work for you – from slicing a PivotTable to help filter analysis to spotting new trends with Sparklines, and so much more.  And with Excel 2010 with PowerPivot, people can process millions of rows of data clip_image001and combine data from multiple sources like SQL Server 2008 data sets. Customers are saying that they don’t need IT to do it – they can pull and analyze data themselves.

As part of my work in marketing, I spend a fair amount of time with customers working on case studies of how they use Office 2010, so I get to see Office 2010 impacting a lot of different businesses. In this and future blog posts I wanted to give everyone a sense of the various ways customers are taking advantage of Office.  The Mediterranean Shipping Company is a great example of how one customer is already accomplishing a lot with Excel 2010 and PowerPivot.

Mediterranean Shipping is the second largest shipper in the world with 270 ports worldwide on six continents. Mediterranean Shipping’s business is simple in theory: pack lots of cargo onto as few ships as possible, and send them to their destinations quickly and safely. But getting into the details of scheduling 400 vessels and 1.5 million cargo units to get them to the right place at the right time means things get complicated. Mediterranean Shipping uses Microsoft Excel to track all of this, generating hundreds of thousands of documents and spreadsheets. The Chief Technology Officer, Fabio Catassi, has said, We joke that our business runs on Excel.”

With previous versions of Excel, however, employees at Mediterranean Shipping were frustrated when software performance took a hit from large data sets, and when it took IT too long to pull a report for analysts and decision makers.

Mediterranean Shipping deployed Excel 2010 with PowerPivot as part of the Office TAP, and the new product has already solved their problems with  data size limits and performance. Fabio also says “PowerPivot in Excel 2010 helped us combine internal and external data sources in a way that is very consumable for users, in a matter of days. In the previous environment, this would have taken weeks,” says Fabio.  “But most importantly for us, projects can be accomplished with very little involvement from the IT department. Excel 2010 puts more power and capability in the hands of the business user, while still enabling us to control access to our valuable stores of years and years of data.”

Read about more Office 2010 customers, and look for more “Why Office?” posts from me in the future!  In the meantime if you have any comments, questions, or specific information (pros, cons, etc…) you would like about the customer solutions we showcase, let us know in the comments.  Thanks!


Sparklines and a Slicer in Excel 2010