By Noha Della Polla.
Even with hundreds, if not thousands of alternatives to spreadsheets available on the market their usage remains extensive in most industries, particularly in complex financial businesses such as asset management, banking and trading. Spreadsheets will be found in every corner of the business from risk management, pricing, cash forecasting, investment modelling, through to regulatory reporting and financial analysis upon which key critical business decisions are made.
Users of spreadsheets will know all about issues caused by manual data entry, copy and pasting, and formula complexity that does not necessarily cause a model to break when incorrect, but can generate wrong numbers that can cause huge headaches for businesses.
The unstructured format of spreadsheets make it difficult to lay out complex calculations with a flow of logic that’s easy to understand and validate. Days can be spent unpicking important functionality when something goes wrong, and in the worst case these errors can have an impact at the highest level. Damage caused by relying on spreadsheets has been well publicised, with incidents such as the mis-pricing of Tesla’s acquisition of Solarcity by $400m or the ‘London Whale’ story where a spreadsheet mistake contributed to a $6.2bn loss.
However, sometimes the danger to a business can be less specific but even more crippling – the inability to react to new challenges and scale, time wasted on manual processes and the rework causing frequent mistakes. Add to that the risks of non-compliance with new regulations due to the difficulty with reporting from spreadsheets and together that can credibly make Excel the single most dangerous piece of software in a business.
Those are the reasons why HTI Labs decided to create a complete technology solution for tackling all the problems caused by spreadsheet usage in an enterprise, Schematiq.
Schematiq is a versatile platform that helps identify and solve complex spreadsheet issues. Whether you are looking to make a step change in control and processing power, or to reduce your reliance on spreadsheets overall, we can deliver value fast with our proven, mature technology.
As an example, one of our recent Asset Management clients, was struggling with manual data entry, slow calculations and workbooks that were tortuous to use and maintain. Schematiq Workbench allowed an integrated solution where they could automate all the data inputs, calculations and simplify the workflow. The reasons our client chose us were:
1. Speed to Implement – With Schematiq, you can enhance and refactor an existing process in-situ. No need to throw away or modify the elements that are not causing issues. This makes the time needed to create a enterprise-ready solution much shorter.
2. Simplification of logic – Schematiq allows users to build controlled, reusable templates to manage complex business logic, greatly simplifying and reducing the risk of error.
3. No code, no developers needed – Schematiq is a business tool, designed to be easily usable and maintainable by anyone who is familiar with Excel.
4. Increased data validation, limit checking and error handling – Reduce the risk of the biggest problems with spreadsheets - bad data - with powerful functions to create trusted, reliable outputs.
5. Calculation speed and scalability – Schematiq is optimised for the most demanding business use-cases, and has ways to scale calculations to be thousands of times faster than native Excel spreadsheets – and handle unlimited amounts of data.
6. Easy addition of future functionality – The combination of the simplification made possible and the greater power at hand means that adding future calculation and reporting requirements will be much easier.
7. Simple Change Management – Schematiq allows users to continue using a familiar spreadsheet interface, so the process of learning the new system is straight-forward, and easily testable side-by-side with the existing process.
As a senior client said: “a smaller team of highly skilled people can achieve more using Schematiq than much larger teams without it”.
We understand the problems that companies face with Excel and our results give us the credibility to help break free from the restrictions of spreadsheets.
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