One full decade ago, industry leader Ray Poynter of #NewMR wrote a blog post about the use of PowerPoint for data reporting. He maintained that this ubiquitous form of data reporting would not be replaced any time soon. Here we are, 10 years later, and his hypothesis has been proven. Still, by far and away, stakeholders in organizations prefer their market research insights to be delivered in a format that can be easily understood and used for decision making.
Recently, Ray decided to revisit his 2011 blog post on the #NewMR site. His original post covered a few key points that supported the view that PowerPoint would continue being used well into the future (the future is now!). These included the need to share data reports that: could be widely read by stakeholders; did not rely on an internet-based tool; were static so everyone gets the same data view; and are delivered in a format that are “supported by tools and skills” on both sides of the market research equation.
Perhaps since this blog post was originally published, there have been a few changes to the reasons why PowerPoint is the best choice, but the overall premise remains the same. While internet-based solutions are more prevalent now, and widely accepted, this is likely no longer one of the key issues at stake. In addition, static results are no longer necessary as new solutions (such as SharePoint and Dropbox) allow easy sharing of “live” documents or slide decks that can be updated with new data seamlessly.
However, the biggest reason for PowerPoint’s enduring nature remains: data reporting needs to be widely accessible and in a format that is supported by all stakeholders. We wrote about this fact in a 2019 blog post, “Five reasons to use PowerPoint for your survey reporting.” In the piece we maintained that companies and researchers really need to think about it before moving away from this familiar solution. With OfficeReports, we said: “Instead of struggling to implement new solutions across teams and companies, market researchers can work natively in PowerPoint to deliver survey reporting that all stakeholders can easily digest.” This makes PowerPoint even more powerful for your data reporting needs.
In summary our “five reasons” for continuing to use PowerPoint included: sharing of insights that are understandable and usable; avoiding complicated, time-consuming implementations of new solutions; the ability to add data dynamically to this traditional static format by using the OfficeReports solution; visualizing data to meet client needs; and creating templates and updating data automatically (using OfficeReports inside PowerPoint).
So when Ray poses the question “Will anything replace PowerPoint soon?” we would have to respond “no.” We believe that even as another decade passes by, PowerPoint will still be the preferred platform for data reporting. You just have to find ways to make it work hard for data analytics and deliverables, using specialty add-ons and solutions like OfficeReports.