Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Why Excel on the Server?
in middle-school). Every financial department relies on it. Managers in business in every industry and
at every level of the organization make decisions based on the numbers presented by and calculated
Whether it is being used for forecasting sales, analyzing a return on investment, developing a budget,
tracking an investment portfolio, or calculating commission models, it is safe to say that Excel is at the
heart of the business world. Excel formulas are the lingua franca, and much of the logic that drives
businesses worldwide is captured in Excel models.
Given how critical Excel is for business, it is not surprising that there are ever-increasing needs for
better management, distribution, and incorporation of spreadsheets in larger applications. The next
section takes a look at these needs in more detail.
Why Excel on the Server?
Spreadsheets are used everywhere, and as they become more important to an organization, one or more
of the following needs arise:
There is a need to distribute the spreadsheet broadly.
There is a need to control and manage the distribution and life cycle of the spreadsheet. (This is
especially true in this age of compliance and regulations.)
The spreadsheet needs to be viewed in the context of additional data as part of web applications
and business intelligence (BI) dashboards.
The results of the spreadsheet calculation need to be incorporated in other applications.
The spreadsheet calculation takes a long time, preventing users from doing other things on their
computers while it is processing.
This list is not all-encompassing. There many other needs that exist for users and organizations working
with spreadsheets. This topic focuses on the needs addressed by this first version of Excel Services. The
“What Excel Services Is Not” section later in this chapter covers some of the things Excel Services does
not do in this release.
The Problems with Distributing Spreadsheets
Today, when a spreadsheet author is working on an Excel workbook and wants to share it broadly (either
for review or to distribute the final results), the most common way to do it is through e-mail. Sending
an e-mail with an attached spreadsheet is simple and straightforward, but it also poses a problem. Every
recipient of the e-mail with the attached spreadsheet receives his or her own copy of the spreadsheet.
Now, instead of having one copy of the spreadsheet that everyone is looking at, there are as many copies
as there were recipients on the To line of the e-mail. If the spreadsheet author makes a change to the
workbook, he or she must send out an updated copy. But even then, the author has no way of verifying
that everyone is looking at the latest copy sent. And, because each recipient has his or her own copy, they
can each make changes to the workbook, making it out of sync with the version that is controlled by the
spreadsheet author. Figure 1-2 shows this process.