The Poor Man's i2

In the market for SCP software, it could be argued that the market leader is not i2, Manugistics, or SAP, but Microsoft Excel. Many companies never look at the leading SCP vendors, finding that it’s much simpler, easier, and certainly less expensive to simply create an Excel model to plan short term production around one or two key constraints.

Enrico Camerinelli

If you spend some time with Financial Analysis Software vendors, then I think that you’ll find their toughest competition is existing excel spreadsheets in the hands of financial analysts. The counter argument is often not the accuracy of the spreadsheet, but rather the transparency, consistency and provenance of the spreadsheet:

  1. Who developed the spreadsheet?
  2. What assumptions are built into the spreadsheet?
  3. Are the formulae used to evaluate B the same as those used by a colleague to evalulate A last week?
  4. Did the analyst [intentionally or otherwise] tweak one of the underlying assumptions for this analysis?

I suspect that there is a market for an excel specific version control system. One that could open up the spreadsheet and highlight both formulaic and data differences. Then analysis could be tied to a specific version of a specific spreadsheet variant.