Spreadsheets are Ruining Your Productivity

Spreadsheets are slowly and systematically ruining your productivity, management efforts, and leading your business to a deliberate death.

Microsoft Excel is probably the most commonly used business software employed by companies around the world. Small businesses are using tens of thousands, if not millions of spreadsheets. How much of that data is critical to company’s goals, their auditability, compliance requirements, and essential operations? Consider how much of that data will ever go beyond the person who currently has it. Will it be shared in a way that allows the company to further develop knowledge and wisdom to take action on it?

Take this to the next level

Pretend you are a large multi-national corporation, a government agency or a fast growing firm. How many Excel files would have in your business? That’s a lot of  unsecured and easily altered data floating around. This situation can become very scary, very quickly.

The business world moves swiftly. More often than ever before, employees are shifting roles, merging responsibilities and transitioning between careers and companies. The possibility that important data will be lost, misplaced or corrupted should be a paramount concern for your business.

Consider these common problems:

  • A firm tracking HR compliance data in Excel is audited. They are unable to comply with the requirements. They lose their government contract(s).
  • A company forecasting sales and pipeline via spreadsheets finally determines that forecasts are off because of a double counting error in a formula
  • A business using spreadsheets to manage their inventory suddenly discovers an abundance of dead and unusable stock because someone forgot to tie a new worksheet into the overall inventory workbook.

Despite these and similar problems Excel remains the dominant tool for business and data critical functions in most organizations. ERP software and CRM software companies remain profitable and stable for a good reason: businesses need the ability to track numbers in a way that can be shared, tracked and audited.

If your business is running critical processes and reports in spreadsheets, you have a ticking time-bomb. It’s easy to understand why Excel remains so popular despite the disadvantages. Excel costs very little, comes standard on many computers and is quick and easy to deploy. It is easy to configure and customize for specific needs and uses. Excel does have value in the right circumstances – ad hoc analysis or what-if scenario planning for instance. But if you are an executive, a project manager or a board member and you are relying on Excel to manage critical functions and data, then you may need to reevaluate your processes.

The world has evolved beyond spreadsheets. Stakeholders, boards, regulators, communities and employees are all demanding that organizations take responsibility for their data, decisions and risks. They are demanding that organizations move from old, personal, and disconnected processes to new, effective, auditable systems that can be accessed from anywhere, on any device, at any time.

If you are an executive and you’re being presented with critical information in Excel sheet, or if you’re using Excel to manage mission critical data, it is time to enter the twenty-first century. Close Excel and pick up that old fashioned phone, and give us call. We can discuss how to make your systems work for you.

 

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