Any company looking to boost its big data support system can benefit by investing in a .NET spreadsheets application. Data crunching needs continue to grow more complex, and many organizations are struggling with the limitations of traditional analytical and visualization tools. Excel is a prime example of this. It's predominantly a calculator in an enterprise age that needs more advanced forms of reporting. 

However, Excel has been long ingrained in enterprise as the foundational data analysis tool, and as they say, old habits die hard. There are many features of Excel spreadsheet functionality worth preserving, but at this point, there are many that aren't quite up to snuff. Companies could be restricting their own big data and analytics development by continuing to rely on somewhat outdated tools, suffering from human error, confusion and productivity issues that can stem from the spreadsheet's lack of clarity. The New York Times contributor Austin Frakt recently discussed this issue, stating that once small gaps and formerly imperceptible issues in spreadsheets can easily become magnified by the way data is used today. 

"[A spreadsheet's] strength is that it makes visualization and manipulation of numbers easy to do with little training," Frakt wrote. "It's sort of a glorified standard calculator - the kind you undoubtedly have at home and use to balance your checkbook. This is also its weakness, because its simplicity has a cost: spreadsheets hide the details. They don't make the sequence of steps in any analysis as transparent as they could be. They're there, but they're not front-and-center. This makes discerning what they are difficult and invites error."

These discrepancies must be corrected in order for businesses to derive optimal benefit from the data analysis and visualization tools they use. And although there were once few other options that could provide the seamless experience coupled with complex capacity that Excel provides, .NET spreadsheets have arrived as a sensible alternative that doesn't force a massive change on business end users.

Advantages of .NET spreadsheets

Investing in .NET spreadsheets can boost data analysis, as well as an organization's use of .NET applications. Here are three benefits:

  1. Compatibility with Excel: The apple doesn't have to fall far from the tree. By investing in .NET spreadsheets, companies can make .NET applications seamlessly interoperable with existing Excel data. Entire, multi-sheet files can be input into the Spread component, with a variety of Excel documents supported. Users benefit from the familiar interface and don't have to redo what they've already done, providing them with the fastest, most productive way to move from Excel to .NET spreadsheets.
  2. Peerless adaptability: One way that .NET spreadsheets improve upon Excel is in the additional functionality they give the user. With Spread Studio for .NET, for example, users have total control over data compilation and display, events that can be easily leveraged in response to user changes and a variety of calculation features to simplify even the most ambitious number-crunching efforts.
  3. Caters to every type of analyst: As InformationWeek contributor Nick Millman recently observed, there are many different kinds of data analysts that use spreadsheets. These include the "data steward," who focuses on the availability and quality of information; the "data scientist," who builds algorithms; and the "analytic champion," who combines data initiatives with business logic. This is in addition to all the company end users. With .NET spreadsheets, there are forms and functionalities that cater specifically to the different ways each of these stakeholders uses data visualization tools.

Ultimately, the value of .NET spreadsheets stems from the capacity they deliver above and beyond that of Excel, without ever leaving the comfort and user-friendliness of Excel tools behind. This is an important combination, especially for organizations still ramping up their data-driven initiatives.