Friday, January 22, 2010

Why Spreadsheets?

Why do financial analysts continue to prefer spreadsheets over other business intelligence tools? Consider the following scathing review of spreadsheets by Wayne Eckerson (2010, p. 13) of TDWI:
The fundamental problem is that spreadsheets are personal productivity tools, not an enterprise information delivery system. Individuals armed with spreadsheets generate their own data: they bring it into Excel, link it with other data sets, apply custom calculations, and format it according to their preferences. The resulting spreadsheet reflects their individual or departmental view of the business. It is highly unlikely that their view of the business harmonizes with other views, especially since other departments and corporate headquarters typically define basic entities and key metrics, such as customers, products, sales and profits, in entirely different ways. The use of spreadsheets in such a manner leads to the breakdown of corporate vocabulary and of the single version of the truth.
Yet, the spreadsheet remains the tool of choice amongst financial analysts for all of the reasons Eckerson cites. Interesting...

Reference: Eckerson, W (2010), Transforming Finance: How CFOs Use Business Intelligence to Turn Finance from Record Keepers to Strategic Advisors, Renton, WA: TDWI.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"the single version of the truth." by Wayne Eckerson, Aspiring Big Brother.

What a crock of s***.

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