When it comes to spreadsheets, get out of your comfort zone

Spreadsheets Comfort Zone

Ventana Research recently released a benchmark research study on spreadsheet use in business today. The results were revealing, and should serve as a wake-up call to executives and managers. The study notes that, for a tool designed to enhance efficiency, spreadsheets often actually sap productivity instead.

The main business problems with traditional spreadsheets are that they are error-prone and difficult to consolidate, and they lack scalability and audit capabilities. Spreadsheets therefore exacerbate issues around data accuracy, availability, and timeliness. These are all risk factors ― expensive risk factors ― which can affect your bottom line.

The costs and stakes are high

On average, heavy spreadsheet users spend over 18 hours per month on maintenance, while even non-heavy users spend up to 15 hours per month. What’s more, the research confirmed that a large percentage of time is also spent fixing mistakes and discrepancies. On average, people spend about 12 hours per month consolidating, updating, modifying, and correcting spreadsheets.

Most of the research participants (81%), and especially the heavy spreadsheet users (88%), struggle to combine data from two or more spreadsheets (often from multiple contributors) as part of a business process associated with their jobs. Not surprisingly, more than half of users (56%) say that combining spreadsheets is a time-consuming chore.

Organizations from banking institutions to educational facilities and governmental agencies have all incurred great losses because of faulty manual data entry, typographical errors, and lack of quality control and oversight. There is even an association, The European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group, which tracks the fallout from spreadsheet errors. In fact, they have an entire section on their website dedicated to reporting on what they call spreadsheet “horror stories.”

The study notes that traditional spreadsheets simply weren’t designed to be used in collaborative, repetitive, enterprise-wide tasks. In large organizations, in particular, they make managing any collaborative process more difficult than it should be. Yet, even when millions of dollars, euros, or pounds are at stake, the misuse of spreadsheets persists.

Which begs the question: Why are people still bothering with traditional spreadsheets? Why are they still so ubiquitous? Simply put, it’s the comfort factor. People are so familiar with them and averse to change that they continue to use them, overlooking their intrinsic problems.

Alternatives are in the cloud

A decade ago there were few practical alternatives to spreadsheets. Today, however, companies have a variety of options to complement or replace their old-fashioned spreadsheets. Some companies have made progress in addressing their spreadsheet issues and limitations, but there is still much left to consider.

Executives and managers ― especially those concerned with tracking such things as expenses, billing, and project costs, as well as employee time and attendance ― would be well advised to investigate spreadsheet alternatives in order to eliminate the systemic risks in their internal operations.

With modern cloud-based resource management software, for example, companies can easily solve many of the issues posed by traditional spreadsheets. These solutions are not only easy to use, but they add scalability, visibility, and security. What’s more, cloud-based time tracking applications are a much faster and more effective means of bolstering productivity ― allowing companies to regain the hours wasted on spreadsheet maintenance, and use that time on more productive work tasks.

Avatar
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karen Bell
Get started today.
Set up a free trial based on your business needs. Start Free Trial

Webinar Recap: Uncover Huge Profits with Accurate Project Time Tracking

As remote employees become part and parcel of the new normal, most leaders are beginning to realize that they need a better way to manage their projects, people, time and…Read More

Replicon Announces Time Intelligence Platform for Cloud-based Solutions from SAP for the Professional Services Industry

Replicon Time Tracking for Service Organizations Delivers a Single Source of Truth for Time. Redwood City, CA – October 22nd, 2020  – Replicon announced today that its Time Tracking for…Read More

Global Compliance Desk – Maine, United States

New Earned Employee Leave in Maine Governor Janet Mills signed L.D. 369, An Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave, in May 2019, which will become effective on January 1, 2021. Currently,…Read More

Time and Attendance Orientation Guide

In a growing business, the day will eventually come when managing time and attendance on paper becomes both inefficient and risky, especially when trying to balance things like overtime, paid…Read More

Using shared services? These five technologies are a must

As organizations continue to scrutinize operating costs and look for areas to drive efficiencies, shared services centers (SSCs) are a no-brainer. The concept of a multi-function SSC has been around…Read More

Miscalculating wages by a few cents led to this company paying a six-figure lawsuit

West Marine Products, which operates a chain of retail stores across the United States specializing in boating supply and fishing equipment, recently settled a class action lawsuit involving 707 former…Read More
  • Cloud
  • In The News
  • Corporate
  • Professional Services Management
  • Project and Program Management
  • Shared Services Management
  • Time and Attendance Management
  • Workforce Management
  • Customer Feature
  • Feature Update
  • Time Intelligence
  • Industry News
  • Webinar Recap
  • Global Compliance Updates