The main user interface for SAP Integrated Business Planning is Microsoft Excel using a special Excel Add-In provided with the product. In this article I want to explore if and why this interface will satisfy the needs of planners. Let’s start by having a look at where spreadsheets originated from, and then what planners need from the tools that support them.
The history of the spreadsheet
I’ve been around long enough to remember a world without electronic spreadsheets – a world that instead either involved pens, paper and calculators or punched cards, a mainframe and reams of printed output. In my first career as a Mechanical and Manufacturing Systems Engineer working for Dunlop, Chloride and Lucas, I had what in retrospect was the privilege of witnessing the birth of the personal computer and the early PC spreadsheet applications such as VisiCalc, SuperCalc and Lotus 1-2-3.
It is also worth pointing out that at that time in the mid 1980’s, I had a DEC micro-computer on my desk where the computer was contained inside the VDU (a screen to youngsters) and the operating system, application and data were all held in RAM. Said computer was used to control manufacturing machines in real time. So some concepts are perhaps not so new!
Figure 1: VisiCalc running on an Applell (source wikipedia)Read Article