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5 reasons to get out of Excel Hell

According to the 2015 Workforce Planning Trends & practices Survey Report, 75% use more than 3 different sources of data to inform workforce planning decisions - if you have more than a few hundred employees, tracking performance, training, and succession planning on hundreds of rows and columns can be a complete nightmare.

98% of business leaders agree that Workforce Planning is a critical ingredient for organizational success&hellip.now it’s time to move it away from email inboxes, inefficient meetings and, most of all, out of Excel Hell.

Here are the top five reasons why you need to ditch spreadsheets.

1. Spreadsheet mistakes are common

Everyone loves a good spreadsheet but they are notorious for being prone to human error. Need proof? Here are 2 prime examples of seemingly innocent spreadsheet blunders gone wrong:

1. In 2008, Barclays sent an offer to purchase another firm that hid, instead of deleting, nearly 200 cells resulting in unnecessary losses.

2. In 2013, JPMorgan Chase lost more than $6 billion in its & lsquo;London Whale’ incident – allegedly due to copying and pasting incorrect information. Whoops.

Plus, when it comes to fixing errors, we’re all too familiar with the uneasiness that comes with changing formulas and updating interrelated spreadsheets that share cell values.

Auditing spreadsheets is almost impossible&hellip who knows what might go wrong or which errors remain hidden?

2. Spreadsheets suck too much of your time

om typos and oversight, spreadsheets are also synonymous with time-consuming and labour-intensive tasks. Just ask your colleagues. When it comes to tracking employee related information like salary, competencies and training, you’re also spending a lot of time stuck in & lsquo;Excel Hell’ hunting and updating data.

Relying on spreadsheets doubles your administrative workload when you have to provide routine reports to the management, leaving you less time to do what matters most: develop people strategies to attract, hire, and engage the right talent to achieve business goals.

And when it comes to ad-hoc requests, you find yourself spending a large portion of your day answering questions about pay, benefits and time off. Your work is interrupted by answering queries and making changes to records- when will you finally get on with your tasks for the day?

3. Spreadsheets give only a linear, fragmented view

Spreadsheets were originally created to replace paper accounting worksheets – with data arranged in rows and columns, spreadsheets cannot cope with the multi-dimensionality and complexity of people-related data that organisations deal with today. Reporting across various dimensions and granularity like time period becomes a painstakingly onerous process for reporting teams.

This fragmented view means that business leaders are potentially missing out on crucial connections buried within the wealth of data sitting inside their workforce systems. As a consequence, it gives room for employees – be it intentional or not - to paint their own versions of & lsquo;what’s happening’ in the business by putting a spin on the numbers that best suit their interests.

In a bid to weed out multiple versions of the same truth, business leaders request their teams to link up and associate disparate sources of data&hellipbut getting the whole picture of the organisation takes up a lot of manpower and time. Without an easy and quick way to blend all these data, how can you decide what’s best for your organisation?

4. Spreadsheets are unfit for agile businesses

With the rate at which the business environment is evolving, organisations need to be agile and responsive to changes in order to sustain. Based on Accenture’s 2014 study, the hallmarks of truly agile businesses include prioritising strategic decisions, speeding up decision-making and embracing analytics to run the business.

Keeping in mind reasons #1-#3, Spreadsheets are clearly the chief hindrance to quick decision-making. Employee information first have to be aggregated, consolidated and thoroughly checked for errors – an extremely lengthy and labour-intensive job.

According to the All-Asia HR Big Data Survey 2014, management believe that reports are prepared in less than a day but in reality, 88% of all respondents spend a minimum of 2 full working days/month compiling reports&hellip.with 22% clocking up more than 6 days/month on HR reporting.

Agile businesses require instant access to up-to-date information so that business leaders can make decisions quickly and accurately. Relying on spreadsheets could mean that your organisation is months behind on reports and that you’re missing out on timely and critical information.

5. Spreadsheets are not designed for teamwork

When it comes to workforce planning, reporting, budgeting and forecasting these are rarely a one-man project. Workforce plans requires collaboration from multiple parties to supply their input and analyse data together&hellip but the thing is, spreadsheets are not designed for collaboration.

Attaching spreadsheets in emails and passing it around takes too time much, leaving room for errors and a high chance of someone working with an older document.

 

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