In an article published on the website of the World Economic Forum, the organization’s chief economist, Jeffrey Chiang, said that people still prefer to use a spreadsheet over the Excel format because it is “more powerful, easier to use, and generally easier to maintain”.
However, he warned that it was important to understand that there are also “real differences” between Excel and the Excel spreadsheet format, and it was better to use one rather than the other.
“In general, we are a little more conservative with Excel than we are with the other spreadsheet formats,” Chiang said.
“For the reasons we mentioned earlier, I think we tend to favor the spreadsheet format more than the Excel version.”
But he also said that there were “real, measurable differences” in the way people use Excel, and that there was a need for more data on the spreadsheet and for it to be more widely available.
“People are using Excel because it’s the best for them, but the way we use Excel is also more important to them,” Chiu said.
“It’s not a good thing to get a little bit ahead of the game, but people need to know what’s going on, and the more information they have, the better they will be able to make decisions about their business.”
The WSFE article did not specify which industries the differences were found in, but Chiang told CNBC that companies using the Excel tool were more likely to be “young and fast-growing”, in contrast to companies using Excel based on the older version of the spreadsheet.
“The newer version of Excel is just a little easier to work with,” he said.
Chiang also said the “new version” of Excel would also allow for easier customization and for companies to have “a more robust and consistent interface”.
However he said the most important thing to keep in mind when choosing between Excel or Excel for business is that “you are dealing with data that is being constantly updated, and you’re dealing with a database that is growing and evolving”.
“It’s a database of people that you can use, but you don’t have access to it, so you need to make a decision about what you want to use,” he added.
Chi said that companies were still working on creating a new version of “the spreadsheet”, which would be the preferred method of using Excel for work.
“There are a lot of ways to do it,” he told CNBC.
“But I think what’s really important is to keep people engaged with the data, and to make sure that people are being informed and having access to the information they need to be successful.”