Posted: Feb 18, 2021

Spreadsheets have become a staple in every business’ toolkit. In fact, you might have a spreadsheet open at this very second as you’re reading this. While the benefits of using spreadsheets have pushed professionals to incorporate them into everyday work, the reliance on using spreadsheets for all your business practices can be harmful.  

According to research by F1F9, a financial modelling agency, nearly one in five companies has suffered financial losses as a result of errors in spreadsheets. These losses could be avoided today with advancements in technology —specifically business intelligence — that allow businesses to collect data in real-time and utilize new tools and software to make processes more efficient and collaborative.  

For growing companies, spreadsheets don’t provide the support needed to make data-driven decisions. With access to business tools such as analytics and automation, business leaders can identify opportunities, streamline processes, and keep data live and collaborative to gain a competitive advantage and differentiate their business at any stage in their journey. 

Big Data Analysis: Automated, Customized Visualizations

When it comes to analyzing and downloading large volumes of data, spreadsheets are often prone to slowdowns and sluggish responses. The manual process of loading data, cleaning it, and modelling it creates more chances for errors and eats away at productive hours. Utilizing business intelligence tools puts these issues to rest by linking to live data sources and creating dashboards that visualize a live snapshot of your business at any given time.  

The ability to filter data, compare new to historical, or even look at minute-by-minute data is simplified using BI software and allows multiple users to view charts and dashboards from many different perspectives that are most relevant to their role. 

Collaboration: Live, User-Friendly Experience

One of the biggest advantages of automation is the ability to keep the data live. When you have an employee create a spreadsheet and be the sole owner of it, the processes are familiar to the individual and likely live in their own head. If that employee leaves, the chances of the spreadsheet becoming obsolete or unusable are high because of the lack of actionable processes attached to the spreadsheet itself. Even if another employee is able to understand how the data input works, there is no guarantee that the data is up-to-date. 

BI tools allow multiple users to collaborate in real-time. In spreadsheets, every revision or edit an individual makes, there is a new file that needs to be saved, which can lead to multiple versions or even data slipping through the cracks because of these multiple edits. Many times, businesses will have weekly meetings to gather input from the team on changes and updates that need to be made to the spreadsheet.  Especially with the move to remote work, issues like this can severely impact communication and productivity. 

Technology has evolved to mitigate large aspects of human error through automation and allow for data-driven decisions through advanced visualizations. While spreadsheets might provide the illusion that they satisfy your business needs today, they are not. Transitioning your business to advanced BI tools is foundational to the sustainable scaling and growth of your company. Every month your company isn’t moving in this direction is a lost opportunity to gain a long term competitive advantage. 

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