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If You Still Use Excel For Your Document Control Work...

If You Still Use Excel For Your Document Control Work…

Has Excel Reached the End of its Run?

This is the title of a recent article posted on the Business 2 Community website by author Quentin Poiraud where he discusses Excel’s 30+ year history and how it may no longer be suitable for all the tasks that corporations often rely on it for. As Poiraud states:

The concerns of today’s business enterprise include significant issues that have surfaced fairly recently due to advancing technology and the global marketplace. The negative fallout of data entry errors and subsequent miscalculations and report findings — unavoidable due to the inherent imperfection of human data entry — can now be felt on the world stage, not just in the company or industry arenas. Whether it’s a missed negative sign, a misplaced decimal or an overlooked embedded confidential document, the problems created can be huge.

And while this quote doesn’t necessarily refer specifically to document control issues, this quote hits a bit closer to home for document control professionals:

 For companies who rely on data in multiple spreadsheets across the entire enterprise, the data needed to provide high-level managers with the insights they need to make prudent decisions is also inevitably flawed. After all, each spreadsheet is created uniquely by an individual with a specific set of objectives and perspectives. The result is different data formats, field names and duplication from one file to the next that ultimately degrade the reliability of reports and outcomes. And Excel has no cost-effective way to resolve the differences across data sets.

One of the biggest complaints we get from document controllers who use Excel is the manual nature of it which of course tends to lead to more mistakes, rework and questions ie. Who made this change? Why was this change made? Is this the most recent document version?

The bottom line is that as document controllers require more collaboration, sharing and customization of documentation, tools like Excel become less suitable for this work.
Plus, if confidentiality for certain projects is a concern, it can be difficult if not possible to restrict access when required.
We’ve written extensively on using Excel for your document control work and how to figure out when it may no longer be suitable. Here are some of those resources: