If Spreadsheets Can Help Win Pokemon Go, They Can Help Finance Teams Win Too

George Papayiannis

Unusual use cases for products like Excel are just a good reminder of why users gravitate to real-time data collection and analysis.

There are all kinds of reasons a company’s financial close might run a bit late – too many competing priorities, outdated processes, inadequate technology – but hopefully it’s not because the finance department is too busy playing Pokemon Go.

For those who haven’t already gotten hooked, Pokemon Go is a game whereby people can use their smartphone to hunt for digital versions of the popular show characters in city streets or pretty much anywhere.

As with any mobile game, there are plenty of people who want to claim bragging rights, as well as people who band together to improve their odds of success. What’s more unexpected is a key tool that some are using for this process: the same spreadsheet software beloved by finance departments the world over.

A story on SegmentNext profiled how this approach is allowing some players to quantify combat points (CP) in Pokemon Go:

A Reddit user named Carlitocarlin created a community-driven spreadsheet detailing how much a CP boost does a Pokemon gain after undergoing Pokemon Go Evolution. The reason as to why the spreadsheet is community-driven is once a user triggers Pokemon evolution, he/she submits the findings in a small questionaire which is then added to the spreadsheet. Since the findings are all community driven, the creator has also warned against potential trolls and has promised to keep on double-checking facts to prevent it.

This is about as “real-time” as data gets, but it’s far from the only area where spreadsheets offer unique value. In fact, this was one of the key themes at a recent annual workshop that took place in Vienna.

Called Software Engineering Methods in Spreadsheets, the event brought together academics to explore where products like Microsoft Excel could open up new fields of study and generate powerful insights. The conference offered a strong rebuke to anyone who suggests using spreadsheets leaves data static, trapped or irrelevant.

Professor Felienne Hermans, head of the Spreadsheet Lab at Delft University of Technology, noted that the liveness and directness of spreadsheets makes them attractive to use,” as the Financial Times reported.

“With spreadsheets, the results are instantly visible, or ‘live,’ as you change numbers or formulas. You also see ‘directly’ the entirety of the field of play — formulas, data, output — as you work. By contrast, when developing a website, there is distance between what is visible on the site and where you can edit the code that produces it.”

The addition of enterprise-grade database capabilities will only build upon this foundation for those that want to take advantage of these benefits. Forget Pokemon Go – you can use your spreadsheets and get down to even more serious business.

The post If Spreadsheets Can Help Win Pokemon Go, They Can Help Finance Teams Win Too appeared first on Blog | Vena Voice | Vena Solutions.

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