Can you ever imagine a time without spreadsheets? They don’t appear to be going away anytime soon, and for good reason. Most businesses hold historical data within them, and let’s face it, they are a snap to create. However, in today’s fast-paced world of data consumption via dazzling pretty pics our trusted friend ‘the spreadsheet’ may start to leave us a little flat!
“So how do we evolve past spreadsheets, leverage their content, and start to gain real insight into our data?”
At RhinoIT, we were recently asked this question by one of our customers.
Yes, spreadsheets are convenient and easy. Almost everyone has a spreadsheet system installed on their computer ready to use. Unfortunately, this blessing can also be a curse. If every member of your team has access to the same spreadsheet, it’s likely to result in more than one version of your data existing. Unless you have a ‘Mary Poppins’ stance to document housekeeping, this poses an issue with continuity.
One version may have today’s data, while another version holds all the aesthetically pleasing column and cell updates made yesterday. How do you decide which version to use? Something as simple as a misplaced decimal point, deletion of cell, column or row can have an adverse impact on the integrity of your spreadsheet. Changing a positive value to a negative value or adding a new worksheet can also wreak havoc with your best-laid plans.
“If spreadsheets are here to stay, then how do we work around these issues for the foreseeable future?”
The answer is: Integration.
In the case of our customer, we weren’t suggesting a complex solution, quite the opposite. By merely ingesting the data directly from their spreadsheets into a Business Intelligence tool they were able to satisfy their end user requirements.
The result was an effective dashboard with all the requested data views and visualisations. Data could still be collected within spreadsheet fields but with the added benefit of security, governance and one true source of historic reports.
Have you recently struggled getting to grips with business data? What has your experience been with gaining more insight? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment or question
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