Spreadsheets: Can't Live Without 'Em, So Learn to Live with 'Em

Ann All

The attitude of the typical company toward spreadsheets reminds us of the cover story many folks have about TV. Of course they have it, but they don't turn it on that often, and when they do it's to watch PBS and not "The Real Housewives of Orange County."




Spreadsheets have been called everything from a "phantom menace" (by a Gartner analyst in this accountingWEB article) to "BI's biggest dirty little secret" (by the author of a recent destinationCRM.com article).


Despite the disadvantages of spreadsheets, including their unfortunate tendency to make important data difficult to find and to derail compliance efforts, a Forrester Research analyst says companies can forget about eradicating them. It's far too late for that, with 400 million global users of Excel.


Instead, companies must manage their use as best they can, advises the analyst. Even simple practices like regularly scanning spreadsheets and looking for deviations from the norm can help.


Microsoft, obviously, sees no reason to fight spreadsheets. It is making integration with Excel a key feature in its line-up of BI products, including Office PerformancePoint Server 2007.

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