We are now in the era of big data, when more and more businesses are realising the value and significance of data in numerous aspects of their operations, from internal sales data and HR analytics to market and customer research.
But we’ve also entered the uncomfortable adolescence of big data, when more businesses are jumping on the bandwagon of data and then trying to display and communicate that data using antiquated tools, namely spreadsheets (like Microsoft’s Excel and more recently Google Sheets). In reality, polls indicate that the primary method of internal data communication in 1 in 5 organisations is spreadsheets.
Spreadsheets are terrific tools for many different tasks; there is nothing fundamentally wrong with them. Data communication and visualisation, however, are not one of them.
A poll of 2,000 workers in the U.S. and the UK found that:
- More than 80% of workers want their managers to divulge more data on company success.
- 25% of workers have either left a job or know someone who has because they were excluded from or unaware of the company’s performance or direction.
- More than half of respondents claimed that their personal performance was greatly influenced by their knowledge of corporate performance data.
In other words, employees want to be involved in discussions about the overall performance of the company, so it is important to share key performance indicators and other data with big groups of people at all levels of the organisation.
Teams need a tool that will enable them to more simply and effectively visualise the data for this to work, for the data to be understood, and for the communication to be effective. Spreadsheets are inadequate for the task at hand because:
- A majority of people dislike them.Excel has a negative reputation for whatever reason, especially among employees who don’t use it frequently. They may be helpful tools for a data analyst who spends a lot of time immersed in spreadsheets, but they may be daunting to employees in other departments of the firm. That implies that you have already turned off a sizable section of your audience. Many individuals won’t even view email attachments in Excel, much less get enthusiastic about looking through them to uncover insights.
- The information is hidden.It’s challenging to determine what information is crucial and what information is not because you are viewing all the raw data at once. Spreadsheets make it difficult to distinguish between the relevant parts of a data collection or set of outcomes, even when using visualisation tools. If it’s difficult for your employees to understand the messaging or how the data connects to their daily work, you’re missing the point.
- It is challenging to analyse them. Again, spreadsheets can be challenging to examine, especially for laypeople. A team member may choose poorly or act incorrectly based on a misconception, which is made worse by the volume of facts offered. Additionally, people who are only familiar with spreadsheets and the tools that go along with them often generate pie charts and other charts that exaggerate data since the tool (like Excel) makes it so simple to do so.
- Loss of old information. Spreadsheets aren’t made to hold historical data, therefore when they are “updated” in an effort to make them manageable in size, businesses lose their historical data. This makes identifying trends over time and comparing data over longer time frames difficult or impossible.
- Sharing is challenging. It might be challenging to distribute a spreadsheet among multiple team members, even with cloud computing options. Additionally, the spreadsheet that is shared is rarely “live” or real-time because to the chance that data could be unintentionally erased or updated. It may only be emailed once a week at most, which creates a problem with the information vanishing in team members’ inboxes.
The good news is that there are now excellent, low-cost tools available that enable businesses to report in more efficient ways.
Cloud software options like Sage Intacct offer greater data visualisation to your team and have far superior visualisation options.
Our belief at Itas is that as companies start to appreciate the value of real time data and the necessity of clearly communicating its insights, employees will feel more involved in the business and become more engaged.
Here at Itas, we really believe that reducing your reliance on spreadsheets is the way forward. We can help you do this with our expertise. With Making Tax Digital becoming more and more integral to running a business, you need to be ready.
Who we are
Itas is a multi-award-winning Sage partner. Having started in 1995 with just one customer, we now supportover 200 clients nationwide.
If you would like to know more about how Itas can help your business withfinance automation, Sage implementation and improve purchasing control, you can get in touch at [email protected],call us on01824 780000 or contact us via our website.