Every organization in the world runs on spreadmarts. Spreadmarts are end user developed repositories of data built using spreadsheet programs such as Excel, desktop databases such as Access and reporting tools such as Crystal Reports. While these are great tools to have, they are not necessarily the best way to use data to make important decisions. Let us look at some numbers:
- There are over 500 million spreadsheet users
- Most financial calculations are done in spreadmarts
- End users place an inordinate amount of trust in spreadmarts
- Very little is done to govern the data that resides in spreadmarts
Given that, there is another set of numbers that is frightening:
- 88% of all spreadmarts have errors. This could be higher since only serious errors are reported
- Over 5% of all formulae are wrong. This means in a spreadmart with thousands of cells, there could be hundreds of errors
Since these spreadmarts are used for all types analyses, including month end closing of financials, production planning, customer buying patterns etc., the impact can be very severe, costing millions of dollars.
West Monroe Partner’s five step process will identify and mitigate spreadmart risk. It is a proven methodology that utilizes both process and technology to help organizations reduce the spreadmart risk. Best practices dictate that all end user development should follow a standard development life cycle. This is not always possible to enforce. The next best option is to provide clean data to the end users for analysis purposes.
If you’d like to learn more, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.