Despite the emergence of RPA, ERP, BI and Workflow Solutions, a significant portion of the Business community still relies on Excel.
In the UK, according to a recent UK survey by Thomson Reuters, 78% of companies say spreadsheets support their key financial decisions.* Worryingly, the survey also stated that 17% of large businesses suffered financial loss because of poor spreadsheet governance.*
Is Excel the problem? Well not really, like all software it’s down to good configuration, understanding and maintenance.
Here are some tips to mitigate ‘Excel risk’:
1. Create a register of the spreadsheets your business uses.
2. Check who uses what spreadsheet and what their comfort levels are? Do they require training? Who ‘owns’ the spreadsheet?
3. Review the spreadsheet – How does it actually work? What goes in? What is meant to happen and what comes out?
4. How does it perform? – Is it slow? Does it crash? Are you getting what you should out of it?
5. How reliable are your spreadsheets? – Do you have validation in place for data input? Do you have in-built checks?
6. How can you monitor spreadsheets’ functions? – Do you have dashboards in place?
7. Are your spreadsheets protected? – is access to the spreadsheet and elements of its content protected? How is it stored? Is it backed-up?
8. MOST IMPORTANTLY – Do the spreadsheet users understand what it actually does? If not, they should. Don’t rely too much on too few people to understand what your business does.
If it helps put things into perspective, imagine your most relied-upon spreadsheet failed or, worse still, was deleted. What impact would it have? You may lose time, money or your reputation. The cost could be significant!
And if you need inspiration, consider a recent high-profile ‘Excel fail’, from outside of the business world: Public Health England used an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of Covid-19 cases, despite the fact that Excel worksheets have limited capacity. This resulted in nearly 16,000 Covid-19 sufferers not being advised of their positive diagnosis and skewed the figures for a period of 8 days. The UK Health Secretary insisted, at the time, that the government’s assessment of the pandemic had “Not Substantially changed”, but who knows how it really impacted their thinking? What looked like a plateau or even a slight downturn in the daily rates, was actually a marked increase. #
And this is before we even get to optimisation: Can your spreadsheets be improved? Do you need more out of them? Your requirements now are unlikely to be the same as when the spreadsheet was built.
I recently posted on social media that Excel was is in it’s “Sunset Years”, a friend of mine replied “In your dreams!”. He may well be right. Frankly the cost of new technology needs to come down and skills levels need to increase before we get anywhere close to “Digital Nirvana”.
In the meantime though, it is critical that you have your house in order.
Emotions associated with Excel can range from apathy to despair. We can help you feel more comfortable. Ouro Consulting have decades of experience running operations and ensuring critical office applications (Including Excel) are built and used correctly.
Get in touch today via firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a free consultation and find out how we can help you fight Excel Fatigue.
Chamber members that lock-in our services for Q1 2021 will receive a 21% discount!
*Source: Thomson Reuters “Excel – The Dirty Secret”
#Source: Sky News “Coronavirus: Almost 8,000 missed COVID-19 cases still haven’t had their contacts traced”