A complete CDS package, with all the bells and whistles, may be worthwhile in a cGMP setting, where the methods are locked down nine ways to Sunday and any change has to go through several pairs of eyes and multiple signatures before it can be implemented. This increases the confidence in the accuracy of the results, and gives auditors something to smile at - but it's a very slow and laborious process.

In a development lab, I may be well familiar with what the CDS can do - but it's often simply quicker to export data to Excel, where I can manipulate it easily, and try different things with the raw data, to tease out the information I'm really looking for. Doing that kind of data manipulation in, say Empower or Chemstation requires in-depth knowledge of the software - and that in-depth knowledge is hard to come by.

Excel has been around forever, and is useful across multiple laboratory disciplines. In my lab, I generate data in Empower as well as ChemStation...and 32Karat, and SoftMax, and ProteinSimple's software, and Agilent's Bioanalyzer atrocity, and...well, you get the idea. I don't have the time to get an in-depth knowledge of each and every one of those software suites...but my knowledge of Excel translates pretty well across all of them.

Once the method I develop moves to a QC lab, then I'll worry about fine-tuning it to have the CDS do everything; but for development purposes, I'll stick with Excel.