Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Case Study: Improving Visibility & Control for Mission Critical Spreadsheets in Energy

In their company blog the folks from Prodiance have posted a case study that discusses spreadsheet and EUC risk management in a major US enegry company: Case Study: Improving Visibility & Control for Mission Critical Spreadsheets in Energy.

While they're coming at it from the perspective of selling their specific software solution, the issue facing many businesses is very real. Whether compliance is an issue for you or not, you need to understand and manage the risk to your company from EUC that is not being managed. Any time end-users are creating tools that sustain you business, you need to know that it's being managed properly- this applies to everything from spreadsheets with formulas to simple macros to complex applications that have been built by savvy end-users. Managed well these tools are a key part of your organization's toolset. Managed well and leveraged to their fullest they can become a real cometitive advantage- manking you more efficient and more nimble. Managed poorly or not well they can be a real risk.

The real key is to understand how your organization is leveraging business technologies. If you were to wander around you organization to do a quick scan, here are three questions you could ask:

  • Where did that neat little macro come from? Does someone who's still here know how it works? What would we do if it stopped working?
  • Did someone from finance take a look at the complex formulas in that spreadsheet? How do we know those projections include everything we agreed we would include in the model?
  • Do the expert users who built that handly little departmental application know the best ways to manage and deploy that kind of technology? Where's the master copy kept? Who's okaying changes to make sure the users don't see down time?

Check back here from time-to-time as I follow this post up with a mini-series on managing business technology.

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