Disadvantages of Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are flexible, inexpensive and easy to use. They are especially handy when it comes to beating report submission deadlines or making impromptu data computations. That’s why office workers, managers and even executives have made spreadsheets their go-to solution for such undertakings and more.

Spreadsheets have become so ubiquitous, that they’ve found their way into a wide range of applications including complex modelling, accounting reconciliations, market data analysis, work flow tracking and monitoring, analytical review and financial reporting.

Unfortunately, organisations heavy reliance on spreadsheets have made these User Developed Applications (UDA) into high-risk office tools. Simple spreadsheet errors like leaving out a negative sign or a cut-and-paste mistake have already caused million-dollar discrepancies. Also, when a fraudulent employee enters into the picture, the risks become unimaginable.

Think TransAlta?s spreadsheet cut-and-paste glitch (the company later called this a ?simple clerical error?) which caused the energy firm a whopping $24 million loss or Fidelity?s overstatement of its earnings owing to the omission of the minus sign on the spreadsheet of a $1.3 billion net capital loss.

In both cases and in many other similar spreadsheet fiasco, the errors played a major role in the organisation’s decision-making, leading to disastrous results including, but not limited to financial loss, shattered investor confidence and public embarrassment.

If these are scenarios your organisation can ill afford, then it’s time to ask yourself: Do the disadvantages of spreadsheets far outweigh their benefits to merit a call for total liberation from them?

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How Internal Auditors can win the War against Spreadsheet Fraud


Spreadsheet Reporting – No Room in your company in an age of Business Intelligence


Still looking for a Way to Consolidate Excel Spreadsheets?


Disadvantages of Spreadsheets


Spreadsheet woes – ill equipped for an Agile Business Environment


Spreadsheet Fraud


Spreadsheet Woes – Limited features for easy adoption of a control framework


Spreadsheet woes – Burden in SOX Compliance and other Regulations


Spreadsheet Risk Issues


Server Application Solutions – Don’t let Spreadsheets hold your Business back


Why Spreadsheets can send the pillars of Solvency II crashing down

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Is Change Management a Myth or a Possibility

The theory that it is possible to manage organisational change (Change Management) in a particular direction has done the rounds for quite some time, but is it true about Change Management. Was Barrack Obama correct when he said, ?Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.?
Or, was business coach Kelly A Morgan more on the button when she commented, ?Changes are inevitable and not always controllable. What can be controlled is how you manage, react to, and work through the change process.? Let us consult the evidence and see what statisticians say.

What the Melcrum Report Tells Us

Melcrum are ?internal communication specialists who work alongside leaders and teams around the globe to build skills and best practice in internal communication.? They published a report after researching over 1,000 companies that attempted change management and advised:

? More than 50% report improved customer satisfaction

? 33% report higher productivity

? 28% report improvements in employee advocacy

? 27% improved status as a great place to work

? 27% report increased profitability

? 25% report improved absenteeism

Sounds great until we flip the mirror around and consider what the majority apparently said:

? 50% had no improvement in customer service

? 67% did not report increased productivity

? 72% did not note improvements in employee advocacy

? 73% had no improved status among job seekers

? 73% did not report increased profitability

? 75% did not report any reduction of employee absenteeism

This shows it is still a great idea to hear what all parties have to say before reaching a conclusion. You may be interested to know the Melcrum report gave rise to the legend that 70% of organisation change initiatives fail. This finding has repeated numerous times. Let’s hear what the psychologists have to say next.

There is a certain amount of truth in the old adage that says, ?You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.? Which of us has not said, ?Another flavour of the week ? better keep heads down until it passes? during a spell in the corporate world. You cannot change an organisation, but you can change an individual.

At the height of the Nazi occupation of 1942, French philosopher-writer Antoine de Saint-Exup?ry said, ?A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral?. Psychology Today suggests five false assumptions change management rests upon, THAT ARE SIMPLY NOT TRUE.

1. The external world is orderly, stable, predictable and can be managed

2. Change managers are objective, and do not import their personal bias

3. The world is static and orderly and can be changed in linear steps

4. There is a neutral starting point where we can gather all participants

5. Change is worthy in itself, because all change is an improvement

Leo Tolstoy wrote, ?Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.? A prophet can work no miracles unless the people believe. From the foregoing, it is evident that change management of an organisation is a 70% impossibility, but encouraging an individual to grow is another matter.

A McKinsey Report titled Change Leader, Change Thyself fingers unbelieving managers as the most effective stumbling stones to change management. To change as individuals ? and perhaps collectively change as organisations ? we need to ?come to our own full richness?, and as shepherds lead our flock to their ?promised land?, whatever that may be. Conversely, herding our flock with a pack of sheepdogs extinguishes that most precious thing of all, human inspiration.

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Uncover hidden opportunities with energy data analytics

What springs to mind when you hear the words energy data analytics? To me, I feel like energy data analytics is not my thing. Energy data analytics, however, is of great importance to any organisation or business that wants to run more efficiently, reduce costs, and increase productivity. Energy efficiency is one of the best ways to accomplish these goals.

Energy efficiency is not about investment in expensive equipment and internal reorganization. Enormous energy saving opportunities is hidden in already existing energy data. Given that nowadays, energy data can be recorded from almost any device, a lot of data is captured regularly and therefore a lot of data is readily available.

Organisations can use this data to convert their buildings’ operations from being a cost centre to a revenue centre through reduction of energy-related spending which has a significant impact on the profitability of many businesses. All this is possible through analysis and interpretation of data to predict future events with greater accuracy. Energy data analytics therefore is about using very detailed data for further analysis, and is as a consequence, a crucial aspect of any data-driven energy management plan.

The application of Data and IT could drive significant cost savings in company-owned buildings and vehicle fleets. Virtual energy audits can be performed by combining energy meter data with other basic data about a building e.g. location, to analyse and identify potential energy savings opportunities. Investment in energy dashboards can further enable companies to have an ongoing look at where energy is being consumed in their buildings, and thus predict ways to reduce usage, not to mention that energy data analytics unlock savings opportunities and help companies to understand their everyday practices and operating requirements in a much more comprehensive manner.

Using energy data analytics can enable an organisation to: determine discrepancies between baseline and actual energy data; benchmark and compare previous performance with actual energy usage. Energy data analytics also help businesses and organisations determine whether or not their Building Management System (BMS) is operating efficiently and hitting the targeted energy usage goals. They can then use this data to investigate areas for improvement or energy efficient upgrades. When energy data analytics are closely monitored, companies tend to operate more efficiently and with better control over relevant BMS data.

Eliminate The Complexities Of Your IT System

There may have been times when you actually spent on the right IT system but didn’t have adequate expertise to instil the appropriate learning curve for your end users. Oftentimes, users find a new system too complicated and end up spending more hours familiarising with intricate processes than is economically acceptable.

There are also applications that are just too inherently sophisticated that, even after the period of familiarisation, a lot of time is still spent managing or even just using them. Therefore, at the end of each day, your administrators and users aren’t able to complete much business-related tasks.

The first scenario can be solved by providing adequate training and tech support. The second might require enhancements or, in extreme cases, an overhaul of the technology itself.

For instance, consider what happens right after the conclusion of a merger and acquisition (M&A). CIOs from both sides and their teams will have to work hard to bring disparate technologies together. The objective is to hide these complexities and allow customers, managers, suppliers and other stakeholders to get hold of relevant information with as little disruption as possible.

One solution would be to implement Data Warehousing, OLAP, and Business Intelligence (BI) technologies to handle extremely massive data and present them into usable information.

These are just some of the many scenarios where you’ll need our expertise to eliminate the complexities that can slow your operations down.

Here are some of the solutions and benefits we can offer when we start working with you:

  • Consolidated hardware, storage, applications, databases, and processes for easier and more efficient management at a fraction of the usual cost.
  • BI (Business Intelligence) technologies for improved quality of service and for your people, particularly your managers, to focus on making decisions and not just filtering out data.
  • Training, workshops, and discussions that provide a clear presentation of the inter-dependencies among applications, infrastructure, and the business processes they support.
  • Increased automation of various processes resulting in shorter administration time. This will free your administrators and allow them to shift their attention to innovative endeavours.

Find out how we can increase your efficiency even more:

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