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Introducing “Modelets”

Sumwise’s solution to a very common spreadsheet modeling problem–managing repeating rows and columns.

Consider how many times you use a certain set of row or column names multiple times throughout your spreadsheets and the difficulties that this presents. For example, let’s say you have a forecast for a business that has 2 products: Hardware and Software. You might land up using these row names multiple times throughout your model e.g. to forecast sales, units, and inventory. Further imagine that once you’ve built this model you decide you need to add another item to this list, say Services. To get this to work you need to find all the places where you’ve used Hardware and Software and add another row to this list. This involves copying and pasting, deleting unwanted contents, and a fair measure of faith that you’re not destroying part of the model’s logic. Other complexities can present such as changing the names of these rows, or reordering these rows and ensuring that the correct data goes with the correct row labels.

None of the above is easy with traditional spreadsheets such as Excel or Google’s spreadsheet — in fact is extremely difficult to get a normal spreadsheet to deal with all of these (seemingly simple) pieces of functionality.

We’ve added a feature to Sumwise, called Modelets, that deals elegantly with these problems. Read More…

Using Sumwise to illuminate the economics of solar

Last month the New South Wales government significantly downgraded the highly popular Solar Benefits Scheme that was implemented just this year. What does this mean for households looking to install solar panels? Do the economics work any more? What does this have to do with Sumwise?

In this post we will attempt to put aside all political, environmental, and technical aspects, and focus purely on the economics. We will aim to answer two questions: 1) Did the economics of putting up solar panels under the old scheme work? and 2) To what extent has the change to the scheme impacted the economics? We’ll demonstrate all of this with a working Sumwise model, embedded into this post below.

Some background

Earlier this year the New South Wales government enacted a scheme whereby households who install electricity generating (PV) solar panels on their roofs get paid for all the electricity they generate. Known as a gross feed-in tariff, the rate was set at 60c/kWh—which is roughly 3 times the average rate that households currently pay for their electricity during daylight hours. But, on 27 October, the government cut the feed-in tariff from this generous 60c, to a less generous 20c.

According to the NSW government, the new rate still gives customers a reasonable rate of return on their investment. What we’re interested in is whether or not this statement is supported by objective economics analysis? Read More…

Sumwise trees

One of the most powerful features that Sumwise introduces is the concept of row and column structure that can be referred to directly in formulas.

In Sumwise, rows and columns can be nested underneath other rows and columns. This enables you to collapse and expand various parts of your model, and focus in on the areas that you are interested in. The concept of structuring data is not new or unfamiliar (at least as far as rows are concerned), but Sumwise applies this concept to a spreadsheet and takes it to a whole new level (excuse the pun).

Read More…


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