Are you in control – or still on Excel?

How using the wrong software can cause immense damage

This article outlines the dramatic impact caused by the widespread misuse of a popular office application. It identifies the need for action as well as alternative approaches.

Not too long ago, the entire European debt policy was threatened by a dramatic miscalculation concerning debt and growth rates. The cause was a software and data error. This spectacular case made headlines, but is far from being an isolated incident. Miscalculations due to faulty codes and data happen daily in organizations around the globe. And often they pose a serious treat, not just for the respective organization, but also the global economy.

The main reason for this is that a popular application is widely used for tasks it was neither designed nor is suitable for – by organizations that invest millions in software systems acquisition, implementation, and training. What can and should these organizations do?

The first and most essential step consists in recognizing that Excel may be a great tool if used right, but is not suitable for every task. That of course leaves a gap to be filled by a more adequate software solution. But instead of focusing on specific applications and tools, businesses should develop a comprehensive software concept. This requires specialist knowledge, either from an in-house business intelligence expert or from an equally competent consultant.

If you are still on Excel instead of in control, you should seriously – and urgently – reconsider your choice of tools. Otherwise, you risk massively damaging your business – and possibly those who rely on the validity of your calculations.


This is a management summary of an article first published in the magazine of Digital Tempus Germany. You can read the full article here in German, or contact me if you wish to have more information about the topic.