In past lives, I've spent the better portion of my day living in Excel (now, as primarily a "left-brain" consultant, I spend more time in Word and PowerPoint). But within procurement, I'd wager that Excel is still far and away the most common business application -- dwarfing SAP, Ariba, Oracle, Emptoris and others by comparison. In fact, most companies that I speak with still use Excel to conduct analyses when they could be using the decision support capabilities they've already purchased in their sourcing tools. Go figure.
So without question, the "Bass" method of sourcing analysis and data management is alive and well. Given this, I suppose that it's good news on some levels that Microsoft now has available a significant upgrade to their most important procurement application. According to CFO Magazine, Excel will now be able to take advantage of the Vista operating environment, offering a "a more powerful graphics engine, and various smaller design tweaks, all of which can help you examine financial data in unique and innovative ways. The updated interface, for example, presents all open windows in a three-dimensional desktop stack, so you can move between different spreadsheets and other applications."
Now, you all know the experience I've had with Vista. But when Microsoft can stabilize their latest OS and Office 2007 -- sometime in 2008, I'm betting -- perhaps it will make sense for mainstream organization to take the upgrade plunge to take advantage of the new Excel and Vista visualization and analysis capabilities.