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The Disaster of Dueling Excel Reports

Excel Spreadsheets can be powerful business tools – but only if 'you use them right. With over half a billion users worldwide, Excel delivers powerful data organization tools-and plenty of opportunity to create errors. Even in a single day, a spreadsheet can be corrupted as it is passed around the office. Check it out below. VICTIMS OF EXCEL 88% of all spreadsheets contain errors! c-levels frustrated analysts stressed .and a University of Massachusetts grad student exposed spreadsheet errors in the work of Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. business users confused 88 % Excel is a complex, unfriendly application, exposing even the most expert analysts to a variety of user errors. Those errors WHAT: run right up to the C-level. the big měeting "Hey, can you show me this number for tomorrow?" WHEN: WHO: tomorrow morning CFO CEO CMO CEO "Sure!" "I need some data!" It all starts with the CFO. CFO The Analyst makes a series of Acting on the priority request, the Analyst quickly incorporates the date, enters several formulas, and builds errors in his rush to meet the deadline. VERSION 1.0 a few charts and graphs. He writes an executive summary of the findings. The Analyst is feeling great. Business Analyst Unfortunately, he accidentally incorporated the wrong version of the data. Old data is now in There are already mistakes in the spreadsheet, and the data hasn't tomorrow's report. even been shared with other team members yet. To the CFO, the numbers simply don't add The CFO doesn't trust the data and sends a copy of the spreadsheet to too many people. up. He suspects the Analyst is missing some data. Acting on that hunch, he shares the spreadsheet with the Analyst's team lead to help answer his questions. And since this particular spreadsheet analyzes the effectiveness of marketing techniques against the past quarter's sales data, the CFO sends the spreadsheet over CFO to the Director of Sales to look over, as well. Analyst Team Sales & Marketing Team The Analyst Team Lead is The Director of Sales turns to the CMO for upset that her team made the help with Excel. error. VERSION 2.0 The Analyst Team leads dives into the sheet. But all equations and formulas look correct. Against the deadline, she pulls in the entire Analyst Team. The CMO has tunnel vision Problem solved! An analyst realizes that the data in the spreadsheet is 2 weeks old. She updates O the spreadsheet, but fails to notice that the charts, graphs and summary still reflect the old data. and makes needless mistakes. Unfortunately, the outdated charts and graphs are sent along for use at the big meeting. The CMO looks at the spreadsheet and immediately thinks that she understands it, even though she is looking at data that is VERSION 3.0 outdated. I She enters a few more formulas and creates new graphs from the data but has referenced the wrong cells when creating the new formulas. 1 She sends the spreadsheet back to the Director of Sales and saves a copy for herself for the big meeting. big the meeting The Director of Sales has the wrong "ah-ha!" moment. 1 3 versions I After reading the CMO's notes, the Director of Sales feels like now unde the 1 3 spreadsheets data. He plays with the formulas a bit and VERSION 4.0 stops only after finding a data point that fits his understanding of the data. 1 3 confused and frustrated individuals He includes a new introduction based on 1 1 bad meeting his understanding and sends this version to the CFO for the big meeting. V 2.0 V 3.0 V 4.0 CEO CMO CFO The CEO has the The CMO has the The CFO has the version from the version she edite. version from the analyst team Director of Sales There are now three different versions of the spreadsheet present at the big meeting, and no one is quite sure which one is correct. Instead of spending meeting time discussing the data and how it affects the company's bottom line, the executives waste time debating which version is actually correct. Little do they realize that each version has its own errors – none of the three are correct! Just another day in the life of a spreadsheet... Source: GoodData

The Disaster of Dueling Excel Reports

shared by GoodData on Jun 14
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The accessibility of Excel spreadsheets has made it a hit with business users of all stripes. It’s fairly common knowledge that Excel is among the world’s most widely used database tools in the bu...



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