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    Phocas BI vs. Microsoft Excel

    For some business people, the only data analysis tool they use is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Discovering industry-specific business intelligence software like Phocas means flexible reporting, analyzing more data sets and customized dashboards. Did we also mention more time to focus on new business or explore new projects? Learn more about how BI users compare Phocas with Microsoft Excel in BARC the BI Survey 19.

    While some may consider a spreadsheet a business intelligence (BI) solution, the results of BARC’s The BI Survey 19 suggest that spreadsheets have a long way to go in terms of product satisfaction, business benefits, mobile BI and ease of use among other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

    The BI Survey 19 is the world’s largest and most comprehensive survey of BI end-users. The survey received responses from more than 3000 people who analyzed the BI software tool they are most familiar with across 34 different KPIs. In total, there were 36 business intelligence software solutions included in the survey.

    For this blog post, we will review how Phocas BI performed against Microsoft Excel in the ad hoc reporting peer group across four categories.  

    Review the full comparison between Phocas and Microsoft Excel below:

    Across all categories,  Phocas outperformed Microsoft Excel.  While spreadsheets are a great way to organize information, as a BI solution, they are susceptible to human errors, difficult to troubleshoot, are not intuitive to the average business user and don’t enhance the speed of decision-making. Many of these challenges are validated in the results of The BI Survey 19.

    Product Satisfaction - Phocas v Microsoft Excel

    Product satisfaction is based on the frequency of problems customers have with the product. Phocas scored a perfect 10.0 while Microsoft Excel received a score of 1. 

    From BARC’s viewpoint, “High product satisfaction indicates that Phocas customers experience very few product-related problems. In this year‘s BI Survey, Phocas stands out with the highest percentage of customers (81 percent) stating that they have no significant problems with the product. As a result, Phocas tops all its peer groups for the ‘Product satisfaction‘ KPI, proving the product’s stability, maturity and well-conceived design. While customers have different expectations of the availability and reliability of their BI product, these outstanding results show that Phocas customers are very satisfied with the product.

    This KPI is important because business people want software to work so this is indicative of the reliability of Phocas.

    Business Benefits - Phocas BI v Microsoft Excel

    The benefits gained from using BI software are categorized into three major categories. BARC then uses a scoring system to derive a composite weighted score for each benefit, based on the level of benefits achieved. 

    Inform decisions

    • Faster reporting, analysis or planning

    • More accurate reporting, analysis or planning

    • Improved data quality

    • Better business decisions


    • Increased competitive advantage

    • Improved customer satisfaction

    • Improved employee satisfaction

    Monetize data

    • Increased revenues

    • Reduced costs

    • Improved operational efficiency

    • Saved headcount 

    Phocas scored 9.8 and Microsoft Excel scored 1.6 for Business Benefits. According to BARC: "Phocas is a comprehensive solution that offers interesting navigation and analysis capabilities based on prepared data sets, especially for casual users from business departments.Customer feedback from the survey, current customers and prospects can expect a number of business benefits including faster reporting; better business decision-making; improved data quality, operational efficiency and employee satisfaction; and reduced costs among others."

    Mobile BI - Phocas BI vs Microsoft Excel

    In a world where work is done in numerous places, business people want to have data available on phones. A high score in this KPI speaks volumes in terms of vendors that are listening to the marketplace. The Mobile BI KPI is based on how many survey respondents use their BI tool on a mobile device. Phocas outperformed Microsoft Excel by four times, receiving a perfect score of 10.0 compared with 2.5. This means that the number of users accessing Phocas BI on their mobile devices is four times more than those accessing Microsoft Excel via mobile.

    From BARC’s Viewpoint, “Phocas does not have a native mobile application but the software is based on HTML5 and Java, offering a simple, but clear design so it can be accessed on any device via a web browser. With its responsive design, it is not necessary to build visualizations specifically for mobile devices, because the software automatically adjusts the layout to the screen size. Customers appear satisfied with this option and use the software on mobile devices to a greater extent than users of competing products."

    Ease of Use - Phocas BI vs Microsoft Excel

    Ease of use compares how often users choose a BI solution for its ease of use with the number of complaints about ease of use after implementation. It's a great measure if you’re wondering whether a solution stacks up to this claim. Phocas outperforms Microsoft BI with a rank of 9.6 compared to 5.5. While everyone knows Excel, this doesn't mean it is simple to use for advanced calculations.

    BARC comments: "Phocas has steadily improved its ranking for ‘Ease of use’ in The BI Survey over the past few years. This year, it is top ranked in all three of its peer groups for the second time in a row. All BI vendors strive to make their tools as simple and easy to use as possible, so it is doubly impressive that Phocas takes the top spot across the board."

    A CIO of a healthcare company commented in BARC, "Brilliant product. Very simple and easy for people to understand/use. Good documentation and support."

    Download our BARC the BI Survey 19 highlights report for more competitive analysis with Microsoft Excel and the 35 other BI software solutions here or click the button below:

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