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Data Automation vs Excel

For most firms, using Excel to reconcile data is a necessary evil. It offers the agility needed to keep the lights on when the alternative is to spend months going through the legacy change process. While a powerful tool in its own right, Excel simply wasn’t built to handle this kind of task and the cost of doing so can be enormous.

For one thing, spreadsheets introduce operational risk. Human error is unavoidable, and the chances of something going wrong only increase as the volume of spreadsheet-based data controls increases. A single error can have a huge impact.

The web of spreadsheets shrouds your operations in opacity. It’s impossible to get a high-level view of where your data is and what’s happening to it when so many of your processes are hidden away in spreadsheets. This robs you of business intelligence, while inhibiting compliance. How can you explain the lifecycle of your data to auditors when you have no view of where it’s been or how it’s changed?

Spreadsheets also create key-person dependencies: only the person who originally set it up can figure out what the macros are doing and why. Once they’ve moved role or company, you’re left with a process that ‘works’, but you have no idea how, or what happens when you need to change it.

Ultimately, spreadsheets are short-term fixes that create long-term challenges. They introduce complexity to your organisation. Most firms will readily agree that they need to get rid of the spreadsheets, but until the recent advances in data automation technology, it simply hasn’t been possible – and many still don’t know that’s changed.