Host Analytics has launched a new platform to move Excel models into a cloud service that allows users to take spreadsheet data and reuse it for other purposes without manual intervention.
The new platform, AirliftXL, is built on what the company calls an Application Transformation Engine (ATE), which parses complex spreadsheet data. It allows users to capture and reuse formulas, formats and model structures. It also provides the capability to prevent the errors that occur when moving data between applications.
For example, a customer would use the cloud service to pull Excel models from a spreadsheet that would then be stored as a template in AirliftXL. The customer then reuses that template without any formatting being lost. OLX, a Craigslist competitor, uses AirliftXL to prototype new budget models in Excel for their international entities. It then move those prototypes into Host Analytics EPM Suite, which consists of tools for managing accounting and finance on one central platform.
In its flexibility as a cloud service, Host Analytics can update and change models, which have historically required the help of a programmer. Poor reusability is a particular problem for people in accounting and finance who often have problems when their work gets lost when integrating with other apps. Custom integrations get expensive and can be a long, manual process. By abstracting the Excel models, AirliftXL provides a way to lift the custom formulas and formatting that the customer has built.
Hosted Analytics is now being used by healthcare providers that have historically used the service to consolidate reports so they can get timely financial information about their operations. AirliftXL could be leveraged to integrate Excel planning models that could aid in the health service provider’s financial planning.
Host Analytics, founded in 2001, faces a competitive market, fighting for customers against the likes of Oracle and SAP which have historically offered solutions to solve issues that come with reusing Excel models.
Services like Host Analytics face challenges in adapting to the use of their technologies on mobile devices. In the future, these services will need to be designed for the person using a tablet to do their work. In the meantime, the spreadsheet is still the most widely used tool in accounting and finance. And most people who use these spreadsheets still rely on the personal computer and laptop to do their work.