Most people have a love/hate relationship with Excel. They love what it can do but hate when it fails because we try force it to do what it was clearly not built for. In this day and age, businesses are being overwhelmed by data and need a system in place to analyze it all quickly, provide accurate information yet nimble enough to drill down into the most minute details. This is why we suggest an upgrade from excel to Cognos TM1 or Express.
A 2008 analysis of multiple studies suggests that 88% of spreadsheet documents contain errors. The larger the spreadsheet, the more undetected errors there will be which is being used to make bad decisions or even inflate/deflate your company’s profitability. You can read more about errors at http://www.marketwatch.com/story/88-of-spreadsheets-have-errors-2013-04-17
How can Cognos TM1 or Express solve Excel problems?
Multi-User system – Excel is a single user tool which allows for only one person at a time to input or update data. Cognos allows everyone with a license and access to work in collaboration and at the same time.
Distribution is a breeze – Instead of creating/saving multiple versions of a spreadsheet for each user and affixing various security setting on specific cells per user, Cognos uses the security already built into the system. Everyone who should be able to see and update information does. And with the embedded security in Cognos, confidential information remains that. You don’t have to worry about the wrong document accidentally being forwarded around the office or outside the business.
Version Control – How many times have you created and sent out an Excel spreadsheet to many users only to realize there was an incorrect formula or vital information not included? You go back and make those changes and send out the latest version. Depending on how complex your spreadsheets are and how many users it is being sent to, this cyclical problem quickly becomes an unending nightmare of confusion. Which is the latest version? I didn’t get a copy of THAT version, etc. With Cognos, the changes and updates are made once and the business logic is updated across the board.
Linking – Data in Excel is often linked to other cells or even other worksheets. These links have a tendency to break causing data confusion & frustration to identify and fix. When someone adds extra rows or columns to their version of the Excel document, it isn’t reflected in everyone’s document. With Cognos, changes are immediately shown (depending on access) to all users as well as built in functionality to check links. (not sure this sentence fits here)
Viewing data in different ways – If you have an executive that wants to view data one way while another wants to view it differently, this takes time and finesse to alter. However, Cognos makes it easy to view data from various perspectives and perform ‘what if’ analysis.
Saving Time and Money – Excel is a program that requires substantial manpower whereas a system like Cognos has more automation and built in user controls. What does that mean to the bottom line of the company? Less hours are required by employees trying to find answers and maintaining the spreadsheets. Cognos frees up their nights and weekends while allowing these employees to actually analyze the data instead of chasing it or putting a band-aid on it.
Excel is a great tool for the right situations. Using it for budgeting, forecasting or when multiple user access is required is just not one of them.
To learn more about Cognos and how it can get you out of “Excel Hell” with an upgrade from excel to Congos, email us at Sales@LodestarSolutions.com or call 813-248-2040. You can read our blog on the differences between Cognos TM1 and Cognos Express here http://lodestarsolutions.com/lodestar/?p=5093