esCalc Background

Data analysis and report preparation are widely required in business and industry for the management of inventory, sales, and human resources, etc., like the statistics on the client and sales data. It’s essential for users to realize self-analyzing and self-reporting. Spreadsheet is the most widely used desktop data process software, but the traditional spreadsheet lacks the ability of handling complex analyses.

The status quo of self-service analysis and self-reporting

The existing data analysis tools are mainly business-focused to be used by the business users independently. But the current reporting tools available are designed for users with strong technical background. Facing the ever changing and unexpected requirements, business users need self-servicing BI tools.

• Ready-made modeling is usually adopted in business analysis. However, a computing project is often too dynamic for users to handle.

• Self-modeling is hard to implement because it has high demand on the technical ability.

• The current mature reporting tools are all for the experts. When the data source is complicated and/or the computing logic is highly abstract, they are hard to use for those who are not so knowledgeable.

• The business users can only use the existing templates to design reports with fixed layout, which makes the report building not so operable.

Shortcomings of Excel in data computing

Excel is the most popular spreadsheet tool which is easy to use and supports almost all kinds of data computation. However, it lacks the ability to handle complex computations:

The computation on sets cannot be handled directly due to the absence of explicit sets, such as the computation of intersection of sets.

• No real grouping can be implemented. Once data is grouped and aggregated, it is hard to perform further operations and analyze the hierarchical data.

• Cells are isolated without relations and there’s no automatic identification of summary rows and detail rows, so batch computation is inconvenient. While entering formulas in multiple cells, manual copy and paste is necessary. Besides, manual editing is needed if the formula is a bit complex.

• Sorting, filtering, and other like operations are not easy to carry out in the mult-level sheets.