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Whitepaper - PDF
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Despite all of the technology advancements, excel spreadsheets are
still widely used by business users to create stand alone databases
that allow them to merge external and internal data for reporting and
analysis purposes. There are many reasons why this occurs, however;
fundamentally it is because the business user does not have a viable
alternative. They use spreadsheets because
they do not have a choice. Spreadsheet reporting exists because:

1. Not all decision making data is accessible, centralized or
2. Business users lack alternative tools to create and share their
3. Business users lack IT support to access their data in a timely

The lack of access to a BI tool that supports spreadsheets as a data
source and the lack of IT priority assigned to managing the
spreadsheet data issue contribute to the continued use of spreadsheets
as a reporting tool.

As a result organizations put themselves at tremendous risk when
basing decisions on spreadsheets that are recognized as being prone to
error and are limited in many ways. Risks include:

1. Lack of regulatory compliance
2. Lack of data governance & data quality
3. Delayed access to data for decision-making
4. Lost productivity
5. Dependency on the spreadsheet gatekeeper

In this whitepaper we explore why spreadsheet reporting is pervasive.
Why is it that business users continue to rely on spreadsheets for so
much of their reporting needs. In addition we will explore what the
ramifications of spreadsheet reporting are, including the risks and
issues that it poses to organizations and what steps can be taken to
mitigate these.

Beyond that, we analyze why Business Intelligence solutions need to
accommodate spreadsheet reporting. Spreadsheets do provide very real
value to an organization but the cost and risks need to be minimized.

This can easily be achieved with the appropriate BI tools, corporate
governance and common sense. In this we will focus on the technology
that has to underpin spreadsheet management within an organization,
and what is involved in adopting Business Intelligence with
spreadsheets as a data source.

Spreadsheet reporting can be managed, and utilized to the best of its
abilities. This white paper will explore these issues in further