Actuate Corporation has announced the results of a survey of business end users and information technology (IT) staff that reveals market demand for web- enabled report creation and distribution products leveraging the spreadsheet paradigm. Fully 65 percent of respondents indicated that it would be valuable to their organization to share data and reports in Excel format through a web interface. The reason most cited being better or easier access to corporate data for internal users to help them do their jobs. Indigo Partners, Inc. recently completed the survey on behalf of Actuate.

Among other findings:

  • 57 percent of end users already put reports into a spreadsheet for easier manipulation; Among staff positions the response was nearly 70 percent
  • 81 percent of IT managers admit that their end users dump their reports into spreadsheets for manipulation
  • 51 percent of all respondents wanted more reports available in Excel format as a key attribute of their organization’s reporting/analysis solution

Microsoft Excel emerged as the spreadsheet of choice across the organizations polled, with more than 90 percent citing its use to review or analyze data, either receiving it from or distributing it to others as a primary format. End users expressed a formidable desire to have simple spreadsheet-driven access to underlying data and formulas contained in summary reports (65 percent), a level of need not that much less than executives (70 percent). An unexpectedly high 78 percent of rank and file end users prefer to develop their own reports rather than have reports developed for them.
The survey polled 518 respondents who use, develop or maintain numerical reports in companies with more than 500 employees. More than half of those surveyed categorized themselves as report producers (either in IT or line-of- business), with the remainder either report consumers or IT management. The survey was completed in the third quarter of 2002.

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