Shark vs. Excel™

“I use an Excel spreadsheet to calculate ROI so why should I use Shark instead?”

Top reasons as to why Shark is more beneficial than spreadsheets for building business cases.


1. Customers do not respond to Excel spreadsheets.

Firstly, a spreadsheet is not very engaging. It can be complicated, messy, and confusing. However, the biggest problem here is that customers do not trust spreadsheets. They hide formulas in the background, so the customer does not know where a benefit number is coming from or how it was calculated.

Shark is a specially designed sales application that stimulates value-based discussions with customers in a transparent way. The benefit and ROI calculations in Shark cannot be altered therefore offering a consistent and trustworthy approach.

2. Sales teams do not like using Excel spreadsheets for building business cases.

"There are no outputs!"

Using a spreadsheet to build a business case takes a lot of time, time which is valuable, especially in a sales environment. This process becomes even more time consuming when you need to reuse this information to create a written proposal and / or presentation.

Shark takes all the data that you input during your customer discussions and automatically creates outputs in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel that you can give to your customer instantly, therefore significantly reducing the time it takes to create a business case.

"We don't really know how the spreadsheet works"

In addition to the time factor, in most cases the spreadsheet will have been built by one person and it may not be clear how the tool works. This can cause problems when a customer asks specific questions about the calculations, the salesperson may be stuck for an answer which can negatively impact their confidence and so they do not (and will not) use the spreadsheet with customers.

Shark has a transparent methodology where the customer can easily see the data inputs and the benefit totals. In addition to this, it has extensive glossaries and help files so the salesperson will never be stuck for an answer and if they have any further questions, we are always here to help.  

3. Updating and changing a tool built within an Excel spreadsheet is not easy.

An issue that we regularly see is that the original spreadsheet that sales teams are using to build business cases was designed by one person (or an expensive external consultant), and in some cases this person no longer works for the company, so no-one really knows how the spreadsheet works. Therefore, it is difficult to change or update. Furthermore, every time a new product is released it takes forever to add the relevant benefits into the tool and by the time they are added, the benefits are more than likely out of date so, it’s a continuous uphill battle. When this happens, salespeople start using their own versions of the spreadsheet which ultimately leads to an inconsistent value approach.

At Shark Finesse we work closely with our customer’s product, marketing, customer success, and sales teams to ensure that the focus of the software is suitable for each of their required sales scenarios. The most important part is that our customer is involved in the discussions of benefit design, so they know how it works and can explain this to the user community. Updates to Shark can vary in time, anything from a few days for a minor update, to a few weeks if a whole new set of product benefits need to be included – either way, its much quicker than updating an Excel-based tool.

4. Excel does not allow flexibility for live shaping of business cases to suit customer requirements.

Shark is designed to be used with your customer so you can easily change figures and both parties will instantly see how any modifications will affect the business case.

Shark also allows you the flexibility to change start and end months of benefits and payments, which ultimately gives a more accurate and realistic overview of the financial justification for your solution.

5. Shark delivers a unique discussion technique that can identify and help create agreement on the benefits your customer will receive from your solution.

Your customer needs and wants to take part in a negotiated and transparent process. Without this there are many potential implications such as loss of credibility, not fulfilling your client’s exact needs or not meeting regulatory requirements. Shark encourages interactions with your customer, so the business case is based upon figures that are agreed, sponsored, and believed.

Shark has been designed to spark conversations so you may even find a benefit for your customer that you otherwise would have never known. We have lots of examples of where this has happened, if you want to know more, ask us we have lots of stories to tell.

6. Shark is safer in an increasingly security conscious world.

Many Excel-based calculators need macros to work. These macros are usually kept out of sight from the user meaning the spreadsheet is difficult to decipher, however that’s not the only problem. Macros present a fundamental increase to security risk and this raises concern within organisations. In fact, some are starting to introduce complete bans on such macros to minimise the risk of external attack. This severely limits the usefulness and accessibility of such Excels to express ROI to support the business case.

Furthermore, reduced face-to-face contact has resulted in business case Excels being emailed directly to customers, at the risk of being blocked completely before they can be viewed. So even if the business case is created by an organisation that allows the macros, there’s no guarantee the recipient organisation will do the same.

Shark bypasses these concerns and minimises the risk by avoiding using Excel macros entirely, plus when remotely sharing the business case build with an end-client it encourages participation because it is much clearer than a spreadsheet full of numbers and hidden calculations.

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