Desktop spreadsheets are inexpensive and versatile, and millions of people work with them every day. They’re a handy way to do ad-hoc analysis and reports, prototyping and other common tasks. In a corporate setting, however, the disadvantages and dangers of desktop spreadsheets outweigh these conveniences. They are error-prone; you need only do a web search on “spreadsheet error” to get a feel for the pervasiveness of this problem. People also frequently have to combine spreadsheets, a task most find arduous. And spreadsheets are difficult to audit and clumsy to work with in collaborative, repetitive business processes such as budgeting, sales and operational planning and compensation management.
Ventana Research sought to uncover how companies can improve their performance either by addressing their short comings with software and process improvements or by eliminating desktop spreadsheets altogether. The research investigated the ways in which companies use spreadsheets in performing repetitive, collaborative tasks. It assessed trends in the impacts they have on costs and errors in these tasks and, in so doing, identify and highlight on-going needs for controls and oversight, auditability, process management, notification and visibility. It also assessed the extent to which enterprise spreadsheets are being used, discover best practices that have been adopted and gauge the overall maturity of spreadsheet use.
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