Taking spreadsheets to the next level
What is Egeria Spreadsheets?
Egeria Spreadsheets is a collaborative multidimensional web-based spreadsheet service.
It is designed to simplify creation and maintenance of large worksheets with complex calculations.
Egeria can be used to quickly implement a wide range of planning, budgeting or reporting solutions, create financial models and perform what-if simulations.
Why another spreadsheet application?
I am working as an IT contractor (software development) for almost 10 years now.
It mostly involves creating custom applications for non-techies (people from controlling, marketing, finance and so on) who work for large companies.
Here are some observations I did so far:
- Spreadsheet is the most used (sometimes overused) tool among the non technical people
- Some of the projects I did were literally: We have a bunch of very complex spreadsheets here and we cannot maintain them any more.
Could you please make a web application with the same functionality.
- Spreadsheets are preferred over custom applications when the requirements are changing very quickly:
sometimes people from controlling or marketing departments cannot wait the 4-8 weeks till their IT department implements a change request.
Copy-pasting spreadsheet formulas is often faster than overcoming bureaucracy in an enterprise environment.
Here are the goals behind the Egeria system:
- allow large and complex spreadsheets to remain maintainable
- the majority of people familiar with a traditional spreadsheet application should ideally be able to use it without special training
Key differences to traditional spreadsheets
- Multidimensional data model: worksheets are organized by business entities (SKUs, departments, years, months, scenarios and so on).
The data is stored in a more structured way which has many benefits like simple and robust computations across multiple worksheets.
- Robust formulas: while Egeria's formulas are very similar to the formulas from common spreadsheet applications, there are two major differences:
- The cell reference syntax is a bit more complex to make computations along multiple dimensions possible
- Formulas cannot be copied. Instead one defines an 'area of effect' for each formula.
With a properly defined area of effect a formula will still function correctly when new dimension elements (or new dimensions) are added.
- Web application: a single document can be viewed and edited by hundreds of users simultaneously
Key differences to OLAP-based business planning software
There are several products for enterprise planning and budgeting with a multidimensional data model. Egeria is different in the following ways:
- Egeria is not specialized for a certain task (like budgeting). It is more of a spreadsheet with a multidimensional data model.
- Egeria should be easier to use for people familiar with traditional spreadsheet applications.
I am working on the following features (which I think are critical for an MVP) at the moment:
- Data import from CSV/XLSX files
- Data export
- User authentication and authorization: It will be possible to restrict a part of a cube a user can view or edit.
Filters/rows/columns would show different items depending on privleges granted to the logged on user
(e.g., a user from a certain region would only see points of sale from his region).
- Documentation: Egeria's cell formatting and formula concepts are very versatile.
Apart from computations it can also be used for input validation and definition of a workflow process
(e.g., by using a hypersheet with checkboxes to submit/reject input data for a certain period).
These functions should be documented and explained with examples.
Feedback and pilot users
I have started this website before the actual release to get some feedback and maybe find some pilot users.
7194457563 and/or the application and tell me:
- My biggest concern is the complexity of the multidimensional data model, which is the price for its power.
Is Egeria too complex? Do you have an idea on how to simplify it?
- Do you have a use case for Egeria?
- Would you change something?
- Do you miss a feature?
- Other thoughts?
Please use the anonymous feedback button inside the application or drop me a mail.
Please also mail me if you'd like to schedule a demo or if you'd like to intall Egeria on your own machine.