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Ventana Research Releases New Benchmark Research on Spreadsheets for the Twenty-First Century

New research provides insight on the advancement and use of spreadsheets in business

Bend, OR / Jan 02, 2013 / by Ventana Research

SAN RAMON, CA, January 02, 2013 - Ventana Research has released its latest benchmark research that details how organizations useand misuse spreadsheets and what they can do to make best use of this indispensable tool. Desktop spreadsheets were designed to be a personal productivity tool and excel in this role. When used in repetitive, collaborative enterprise processes, however, they can become counterproductive. Errors are common especially for a company's most critical data. Time is often wasted as users struggle to find data entry errors, inaccurate formulas and mistakenly hard-coded values. The new research provides insight into how companies can gain control of desktop spreadsheets and where adopting a newer generation of enterprise tools makes sense.

Change is necessary. The latest research found that two-thirds of companies are in the bottom half of our maturity distribution in their use and management of spreadsheets. Companies recognize that using spreadsheets for their most important collaborative business tasks is risky and an inefficient time-sink. More than half of participants are aware that there are better alternatives to spreadsheets for their important processes. The research shows that users spend significant amount of time updating, consolidating and correcting the spreadsheets they use frequently. On average participants spend approximately 12 hours (one-and-a-half eight-hour workdays) per month doing these tasks. Roughly half of participants said they find errors in data frequently oroccasionally, some of which are major.

The research shows that users want considerably more than what desktop spreadsheets currently offer. Three-fourths said it would be useful or very useful if they could make real-time connections to company data from within a spreadsheet; do detailed drill-down analysis within a spreadsheet; find errors automatically in formulas, broken links and references to blank cells; and provide workbooks that decision-makers can refresh and filter themselves.Despite the fact that these capabilities are currently available indedicated applications that automate a wide range of important departmental processes (such as analytics, planning and budgeting), more than half of the organizations indicated they have no formal plans to implement spreadsheet replacements.

"One of the most striking findings from our research is the degree to which people who use spreadsheets have become numb to the real risk of losses and difficulties they pose.  Individuals do not realize the extent to which using spreadsheets hinders their efficiency," said Robert Kugel, Ventana Research's Senior Vice President and research director who heads the company's Office of Finance research practice. "We urge organizations take a hard look at the time and resources they may be wasting in their continued use of desktop spreadsheets. This research sheds light on the issues that frequently arise whenever spreadsheets are used in collaborative, repetitive, enterprise-wide processes and provide guidance to address them."


Ventana Research will expand on the key findings of this benchmark research during a live webinar on Thursday, January 24th @ 10am PST. To participate in the webinar, or view it after it has taken place, visit:

Those interested in learning more about this benchmark research can find additional information on 21st Century Spreadsheets Research at: As a part of your registration you will receive insights and education from Ventana Research on using technology effectively inbusiness. Ventana Research thanks those that participated in the benchmark, helping to make this industry benchmark research a reality. Ventana Research provides guidance to organizations in business and IT in information technology through its Ventana On-Demand and with its assessment and educational services offerings.

About Ventana Research 

Ventana Research is the most authoritative and respected benchmark business technology research and advisory services firm.We provide insight and expert guidance on mainstream and disruptive technologies through a unique set of research-based offerings including benchmark research and technology evaluation assessments, education workshops and our research and advisory services, Ventana On-Demand. Our unparalleled understanding of the role of technology in optimizing business processes and performance and our best practices guidance are rooted in our rigorous research-based benchmarking of people, processes, information and technology across business and IT functions in every industry. This benchmark research plus our market coverage and in-depth knowledge of hundreds of technology providers means we can deliver education and expertise to our clients to increase the value they derive from technology investments while reducing time, cost and risk.

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