There is almost universal agreement that spreadmarts come with inherent risk due to the inaccuracies created from manual manipulation of data. This is hard to quantify in terms of dollars. Most evidence we have is statistical and anecdotal But, there is another aspect to spreadmarts that is directly quantifiable.
As part of creating a BI strategy and road map, West Monroe’s methodology includes performing a cost benefit analysis. The elements of this analysis, include: the personnel costs (amount of time spent by analysts manipulating and massaging data) and sunsetting of systems and processes, which will no longer be needed when a BI platform is put in place.
From West Monroe’s experience of working with many organizations across many industries, analysts spend 25-60% of their time gathering, massaging and formatting data for presentations to end-users. Many of these users are C-level executives who exclusively depend on the analysts’ input to make critical decisions. Depending on the size of the organization personnel cost savings alone could run into the millions of dollars every year easily justifying a BI solution.
A well planned and executed BI solution will not only free up analysts’ time making them more productive and help avoid costs, but also help mitigate the risk inherent in using spreadmarts for running a business.