Thursday, September 9, 2010

Excel Services - Revolutionising How We Work and Share Information

Excel is arguably one of the top used tools for the information worker, but how often in your organisation do you find staff members using various versions of what should be a single base of data? By using Excel Services through SharePoint Server, you are able to not only successfully avoid the loss of data, but also ensure that everyone is ‘on the same page’ so to speak. Excel Services provides the opportunity for you to secure data more effectively, as well as boost productivity.

In a Nutshell - How does Excel Services Work?

Excel Services provides a server based solution for Excel in which spreadsheets published to SharePoint Server can now calculate and render on the server, enabling authorised users to view the spreadsheet and results on their browsers. By publishing their workbooks to SharePoint Server and allowing Excel Services to maintain all formulae and integrated functionality, this effectively means that anybody who browses the site containing the spreadsheet can access all available data and functionality of the sheet—whether they have Microsoft Office Excel installed or not. In this scenario, the formulae that staff members have entered becomes the code that everyone will run. You don't need a developer to re-implement the formulae or create a new application.

Key Benefits of Excel Services
  • Sheets are automatically versioned and a base copy is maintained. No more versions in emails or on hard drives.
  • Backups of Excel Workbooks are easy, quick and more secure.
  • Data can be segmented and user rights applied. For example, Management can have access to view more in-depth financial data to the Sales team who can be restricted from seeing certain fields of data.
  • Workbooks can be secured so that certain users with limited rights can see the data, but not edit the data.
  • An Excel Services based workbook is able to capture and display updated data from various external feeds such as CMS and sales information - through embedding connection strings to these external data sources.
  • An entire workbook can be shared or just portions of it, such as a single sheet, chart or table.
  • Users can access data by using a web browser which means that remote users have anytime access to data
  • Microsoft Office Excel does not need to be loaded on a user’s desktop in order to view data.
  • Selected cells in worksheets can be made editable by making them named ranges or ‘parameters’.
  • Excel Workbooks and Worksheets are stored in a centralized document library, so you can have workflows, RSS feeds, alerts and all additional functionalities that are available within your SharePoint document library.
  • You can leverage the power of your server to run resource heavy calculations instead of running these on a user’s desktop.
Excel Services Restrictions

Excel Services is not a complete online version of Microsoft Office Excel so one still needs to create the original workbook and perform in any major additions or amendments in Microsoft Office Excel.  

What do I Need to use Excel Services?

Excel Services was first introduced in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 – it is a standard feature of SharePoint Server and works with Excel Workbooks generated in Microsoft Office Excel 2007 and 2010. 

More Information

Should you require more in-depth information or would like to consider using Excel Services within your business, please contact your Account Manager at MMC. We are also able to assist you to configure Excel Services on SharePoint Server to service your particular requirements. 

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