Excel/VBA IMHO is the best option available, but its not the only option
The first direct alternative to Excel is Libre Office. Its a Spreadsheet applications and supports VBA type scripting though the scripting engine is not compatible with Excel.
Another option is to use a scripting language like Python. Python has a huge library support and one of the popular library as an alternative to excel functionality is Pandas. You can also export the data as an excel spreadsheet though libraries like xlwt and read excel spreadsheet with xlrd.
And finally there are web based spreadsheet applications like Google Docs and Zoho Office which supports scripting to a limited extent.