Excel gone wild

Today I volunteered to look at a business process for a department within my company. I hope they do not mind I’m sharing their story here.  The group members were concerned they had misused Excel. That was an understatement. There were 8 to 9 end users in the department. Each has the same worksheet on their PC. And, in each worksheet, there are at least 30 tabs collecting almost identical information. There is absolutely no way to summarize or synthesize the data. It is just not feasible.

There are pros and cons to using Excel.  The pro is Excel is easy to use. The con is it is TOO easy.  Once a file is set up, it tends to take a life of its own.  When used effectively, Excel is a magnificent tool. Unfortunately, most end users stop short of going the extra mile to make it better.  Before you know it, you have multiple files on separate servers, not talking to each other. The files themselves stop adding value for you.

Fortunately, the group recognizes the problem and is trying to solve it.  I do think with their determination and a little set-up, the process will be streamlined.

The moral of the story is: You should not have more than 3 similar tabs in Excel.  Technology should be used to simplify, not complicate, our business processes.

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