There have never been more business systems available to businesses that purport to solve problems and introduce better processes. Business systems should produce information that can be used by management. Enterprise architecture is the means that ensures business systems and processes enable an organisation to achieve its strategic objectives and deliver the information that is needed for decision making without using Excel.

How many companies have CRM, an ERP, a PDM and other specialised applications either installed or on its way and management reports generated in Excel?

Excel is an extremely useful spreadsheeting tool that has become a defacto reporting tool – as it allows the user to manipulate the information downloaded from any business system into a report that can appear legitimate.

Excel does not validate data to ensure that all of the correct information has been downloaded – nor does it check that the user has used the correct manipulation techniques to ensure a valid result.

Excel’s perceived ease of use is a significant plus however the lack of validation should be seen as a significant risk.

Key business revenue and cost drivers that are managed to ensure businesses achieve key strategic objectives should be measured in a consistent, repeatable way without human manipulation.

If your business systems cannot produce management reports without manipulation in Excel then your business architecture is not optimised and thus, the business’ decision making process is less than optimum.