Online dashboards coupled with in-memory analysis and predictive / statistical analytics form the major drivers of current BI solutions besides the obvious major driver routine operational reporting.
Operational baan reporting supplemented by in-memory data transformation in Excel/Baan and statistical functions in Excel substantially fulfils this need . However dashboards are an area so far unaddressed.
For online dashboards also Excel can play a good role. There is a myth that Excel can only be used with MS SQL. But that’s not correct . It can also be used with other databases like Oracle / DB2 which may be installed on non-windows system through ADO-DB connections .
Here are certain resources which can help user build Excel based dashboards.
Excellent dashboard reports in http://www.exceluser.com/dash/index.htm
Importance of using named ranges (which can be used like variables in VBA by statements like application.range(“named_range”) and functions like lookup/match etc: http://charts.jorgecamoes.com/how-to-create-an-excel-dashboard/. Very good tips to improve dashboards and having good interactivity with user with dashboards: http://charts.jorgecamoes.com/tips-improve-better-excel-dashboard/
Importance of using less VBA as far as possible (Though dashboard with VBA is certainly not an evil): http://charts.jorgecamoes.com/excel-dashboards-do-you-need-vba/
An Overview of the Working Dashboard, Traffic Lights, New Color Schemes, Shrinking Charts, Create Magazine-Quality Charts. http://www.ozgrid.com/charts/dashboard-reports.htm. This link also answers questions like we already own expensive dashboard software, so why do we also need Excel dashboards?
Further there are certain illustrations to add user interactivity like double clicking a cell or pivotcell to show the detail or perform some other functions , add buttons , using named ranges to form query , using multi-table unions (not joins ) to create a meaningful datasource, inserting narrations/images, triggering data/chart/report refresh at certain interval etc . All these we'll illustrate in a separate blog later on.