Graphically Operis has taken on the huge task of bring OAK into the ribbon-style interface of Excel 2007 and Windows Vista. Graphical updates are of course necessary to keep a software up to date but with the lack of uptake of Excel 2007 and Vista by the wider financial modelling community it doesn’t excite me nearly as much as the more technical improvements. We are yet to analyse the full impact of the new OAK functionality, but the promises are definitely very positive:
- Complete conversion from VBA to C#, which speeds some functions up one thousand fold
- Full compatibility with Excel 2007 and Vista, including ribbon interface and large spreadsheets (which, of course, make the performance all the more valuable)
- More capable setup utilities, capable of diagnosing and overcoming many obstructions to installation in the more locked down environments typical of banks
- Innovative and technically ambitious commands that seek to clarify the intent of complicated calculations, going much beyond simple precedent tracing
- Various enhancements to the already market-leading comparison functionality
- Exposure of all the functionality to COM, so that it can be driven by VBA and similar programming environments, allowing favourite review processes to be automated
Updates from David Colver (Joint Chief Executive) indicate that Operis are in great shape to handle the continuous demand for PPP/PFI services in the UK and I would like to believe that the new version of OAK will make them even stronger. Delivering a big software update in the middle of a financial crisis is a very positive signal from Operis, so good on them for pulling this off when many other companies are scaling back investments to manage cash flow.