Excel is not a process

Mar 5, 2024

Our experiences reverse engineering our Excel Killer

We told you about our plans with Reverse Engineering. We started our project with an initial kick-off. The purpose of the meeting was first of all to sharply formulate the promise we are making to our customer with our Excel-killer.

We had the promise clear very quickly:

In many companies, processes – especially processes unique to that organization – are supported by a calculation or process form in Excel. Such a document is not linked to other systems and is fed with manual input. But Excel is not a process. It is poorly manageable, poorly auditable, and, in short, a risk. We replace your Excel with a process with screens. That process is captured compliantly and is manageable, transparent, and flexible. It integrates seamlessly with the rest of your IT solutions, think SSO, links to CRM systems and data sources, and integrations in programs, such as advice or customer portals

What we noticed is that there was almost immediate team alignment. ‘This is what we’re going to sell’ ensures that the team knows what it needs to deliver. We named what will be in our LinkedIn post. What we include in our product sheet. From that mindset, you move forward. In this way, you include everyone on the team in the process, the drive behind the product development. Even the team members with less commercial skills see what they are working on and what the end goal is.

Technically, it was a very difficult discussion. We talked about it all day. And we still didn’t come to an immediate conclusion. But the big difference from a traditional approach was the quality of the discussion. The question was ‘How are we going to deliver on the promise.’ You don’t get into a discussion of ‘Do we really want this, because this is very difficult to build.’ The dot on the horizon is clear and everyone is looking for an effective route to reach it.

What you notice is that a reverse-engineered design process provides more motivation. The function is similar to that of a powerful vision and mission of an organization. When you don’t have a clear dot on the horizon, a company is wandering. But when the end goal is clear, then everyone knows what has priority when making choices. Everyone knows what they need to achieve. Formulating the customer promise is the ultimate vision for a product.

The technical breakthrough came the next morning when one of us had a good idea, which we started working on. And soon it started flowing. And then an appointment appeared in the calendar with a client for whom our Excel killer might be a great fit. How that appointment went, we’ll share in our next blog.

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