There's a reason we at CirrusOps feel confident claiming that spreadsheets might just be the most dangerous tool on the planet. The nature of spreadsheets make them a natural threat to the modern day business. Gone are the days of manual input and data management. Project management and CRM have found a new home as streamlined cloud-based processes. So why are businesses still relying on antiquated technology for primary functions? 76% of executives report using spreadsheets daily. Spreadsheets are proven to be a workplace hazard, threatening financial structures, communication abilities, and process reliability.
It's been reported that one in five large businesses have suffered financial losses as a result of spreadsheet errors. These aren't small, typical losses that any business can experience. These are huge financial losses caused simply by an extra zero or a misplaced decimal. For example, in 2004 the University of Toledo over-projected internal budgets by $2.4 million, just because there was a typo in one spreadsheet formula.
Financial errors and losses aren't exclusive to big businesses though. Small and medium sized companies are just as vulnerable to huge financial setbacks caused by unnoticed spreadsheet.
It can take a few hours to several days just to create and format a single spreadsheet for one department to use. This estimate doesn't even include the amount of time spent inputting, sharing, and trying to analyze the data. If the spreadsheet is then missing information or doesn't give the right view of data, an entirely new spreadsheet needs to be created or the existing one has to be redesigned. With all of this work, spreadsheets become a vacuum for manual labor, wasting your company resources and employee talent.
Spreadsheets are costing your employees time, but it's also costing them in the ability to collaborate with others. Most organizations can relate to the simple fact that each department has their own methods for tracking information—meaning that each department is harboring countless rogue spreadsheets for every menial task. Need an updated table for customer service requests? Make a spreadsheet. Looking for somewhere to store new employee information? Make a spreadsheet. Want to track records for top sales reps? Make a spreadsheet.
Linking all of this vital company information is necessary, although too often understated. Allowing an overload of spreadsheet creation supports repetitive labor, departmental disconnects, and small picture views of the company as a whole.
Using spreadsheets to connect different processes is like using a rickety footbridge to cross a cavern – it takes much longer and is a lot riskier. You never know where the boards might be loose or missing and when the bridge could collapse. Would you rather cross the San Francisco Bay in your car on the Golden Gate Bridge or by foot on a Temple of Doom bridge? So which would you rather have to keep the foundation of your business up and running efficiently and safely?
In a study run by CirrusOps we found that 90% of all spreadsheets analyzed had errors and 72% had critical errors. These errors can lead to anything from inappropriate decision making to overspending or over-budgeting (much like Toledo University experienced). If only 1/10 of your spreadsheets are giving you accurate information, can they actually be considered useful tools for business?
Although spreadsheets are one of the worst possible tools a business can be using, CirrusOps has a solution. We create reliable and useful custom applications that clients can use for any aspect of their business. Visit our services page to learn how CirrusOps can revolutionize your business and help you to connect more, see more, and do more.