Why is Vivid an Excel AddIn?

Written by Varigence Blog on 3.9.2011



A new user’s first reaction after using Vivid for a few days is usually “I’ll never use Excel without this again!” This raises the question – why is Vivid a Microsoft Excel add-in rather than a standalone application? Vivid provides enough unique functionality to justify its licensing as a stand-alone product. Here are some reasons why we’ve chosen to develop and market Vivid as an Excel Add-In:

  1. Excel is already the dominant SSAS analysis client. Every BI analyst keeps Excel open on their desk and already knows how to use it. Why add a completely new tool with all new idioms and patterns? We instead build on the Excel idioms and patterns, so that current users feel right at home.

  2. Excel has some very excellent BI capabilities. This hasn't always been the case, but since 2007 Microsoft has greatly increased the BI capacity of Excel. Rather than reinventing the wheel and reimplementing all Excel's functionality, we decided to create a new and unique BI feature set on top of Excel's capabilities. Since we don't have to implement things like drilldown, filters, or slicers, we can focus on adding the features Excel chronically lacks.

  3. Vivid-enhanced Excel projects still work with non-Vivid users. By building ourselves directly into Excel and building on Excel workbooks, users can add value with Vivid, but if they don't have Vivid, the pivot tables created still work. An individual analyst using Vivid, working with a team that still uses vanilla Excel, can share workbooks with no friction. Of course, getting everyone on Vivid has great synergistic benefits – but it’s a choice, not a fixed conversion cost.

  4. Vivid users retain full access to Excel charts. Charting is an important aspect of any BI tool, and again this is an area where Excel has good support. Since we use native Excel pivot tables, Vivid users continue to be able to use all of the capabilities associated with Excel charts.

  5. Vivid works with other Add-Ins. The Excel add-in model allows Vivid to work side by side with other add-ins. So if your organization has investments in other Excel add-ins to improve workflow, Vivid fits right in. There is no concern that you lose functionality provided by an add-in when you decide to use Vivid. With Vivid, users continue to leverage all of their existing investments in Excel.

As an Excel Add-In developer we really take to heart making you more productive, and we've taken the important step of making sure you're productive in your day-to-day tool, Microsoft Excel.

Kang Su Gatlin