Enterprise Software News & Insights

Business Analytics Solutions

Mitigating Hazards while Maximizing the Value of Spreadsheets

From big businesses to small, countless amounts of hours are spent each year creating detailed business plans, reports, and forecasts to steer their strategic decision-making and performance management procedures. Nonetheless, to deliver such plans and reports, businesses rely a lot on spreadsheets.

Date: 23 May, 2018

From big businesses to small, countless amounts of hours are spent each year creating detailed business plans, reports, and forecasts to steer their strategic decision-making and performance management procedures. Nonetheless, to deliver such plans and reports, businesses rely a lot on spreadsheets.

While it’s a practical and established productivity tool, the spreadsheet isn’t quite suited for business-wide planning and performance management. Mistakes are common, and the bigger the spreadsheet, the more likely the chances for small errors to be amplified, which can expose your business to significant levels of risk. Fortunately, the IBM Analytics solution offers a way to overcome the limitations and bring the benefits of modern enterprise performance management to your Microsoft Excel spreadsheets while allowing business users, both inside and outside of finance, to stay in their comfort zone.

So how common are spreadsheet errors? Studies that have been carried out throughout the years have shown that an alarming 88% of spreadsheets have in fact suffered from some type of error. As stated by experts and academics who have researched spreadsheet effectiveness, three main types of errors typically occur in spreadsheet models:

  1. The first would be the human error which come from mistakes in typing, cutting and pasting, or other simple manual procedures. Now a manual error might come across as a minor issue at first, however, data that’s inputted incorrectly can affect the integrity of an entire model.
  2. The second type of mistake would be the logic error. This is where an inappropriate algorithm is picked, or inappropriate formulas are generated to carry out the algorithm. These flawed calculations don’t only affect the worksheet where the error appears, but it affects the entire model as well.
  3. The third and the most common type of mistake is the mistake of omission, where critical components are entirely left out. Now these errors are difficult to spot. As a user works through worksheets in a complicated plan, the chances are greater that a critical item will simply not be inserted, and its absence won’t be noticed.

It’s fair to say that spreadsheets have established themselves as a very useful personal productivity tool for a long time now. However, they still lack controls and auditability, and rely on individual users to input data and create complex formulas and macros, which makes them less favourable for business planning.

With IBM Analytics, you can harness the power of collaboration—built right into the solution—using managed workflow to get information to the right people, with the right knowledge, in a timely fashion.

Discover how IBM Planning Analytics can automate your planning, budgeting, forecasting and analysis processes: https://enterprise-software.co.uk/resources/ibm-planning-analytics-data-sheet/