Excel has been around for decades. Back in the day, it was just the tool businesses needed to cut down on paperwork and support operations with its formula functions and promises of improved data security (compared to paper records). But fast-forward to our modern way of doing business, especially when it comes to sharing and pulling data from numerous stakeholders and teams, it is easy for confusion to set in, which can often lead to the misinterpretation of the information or incorrect reporting. There are also definite security risks to consider. How confident are you that your spreadsheet data is safe and secure when outsourcing your B-BBEE function to a third party? Then other threats can compromise the integrity of your data, from the risks of stolen laptops, complications surrounding POPIA, dangers of computer viruses, to mention but a few.
Let’s look at some of the disadvantages associated with using spreadsheets:
- Spreadsheets are challenging to share internally and update regularly.
- Spreadsheets are easily shared outside the organisation, which becomes a risk, particularly when an email is accidentally sent to the wrong recipient.
- Multiple spreadsheet versions can exist with no clear indication of who’s working on what or how the changes are communicated to the team, which leads to massive confusion.
- The increase in margin for errors rises significantly, which automatically makes the accuracy of the data questionable, which is a risk when reporting. Various studies show that 88% of all spreadsheets contain errors.
- Reporting is a painful experience and a very complex process to do.
- Creating visual data like graphs or pie charts is time-consuming, and most images are unreadable.
- Restrictions surrounding the recent implementation of POPIA.
- If your laptop or server crashes or a natural disaster strikes, the organisation will lose critical data.
- Business Units cannot manage their strategies due to a lack of overall visibility, and it becomes harder to scale up if your company starts growing rapidly.