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Is Your Business One Spreadsheet Away From Disaster?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 consultants, Pragmatiq, have discovered critical insight into spreadsheet misuse and its disastrous effects on businesses and organisations.…

Is Your Business One Spreadsheet Away From Disaster?

14th April 2023

Business spreadsheet

Microsoft Dynamics 365 consultants, Pragmatiq, have discovered critical insight into spreadsheet misuse and its disastrous effects on businesses and organisations. Around 90% of spreadsheets contain an error. From unprotected files to poor integration, businesses with insufficient spreadsheet management are one step away from disaster.

Microsoft Excel has been a staple of most businesses since 1989, and with over 750 million users, it is the most popular spreadsheet software in the world. That’s why it’s been the go-to for a lot of business-related purposes, from tracking investments to storing confidential customer data. However, even the most trusted spreadsheet tool has the potential to cause issues.


What are the most costly spreadsheet errors?

As spreadsheets are such an integral everyday tool for organisations, it means they also hold a larger possibility for data loss. Some of the highest impact errors, which can happen to anyone, have all been due to simple oversights.

  1. In 2012, London Olympics organisers oversold 10,000 tickets for an event through human error. This was caused by a simple mistype that wasn’t checked.
  2. Barclays Capital Inc accidentally purchased assets it hadn’t bargained for all because of an overly complicated spreadsheet setup that had been reformatted.
  3. P. Morgan suffered a $2 billion trading loss by recycling data from previous files through copy-and-paste functions.
  4. Many companies are guilty of using various spreadsheet versions at one time, causing significant issues, especially when all are being worked on.
  5. Public Health England lost 15,841 positive COVID-19 test results by transferring data from a CSV to an outdated XLS format. Utilising incompatible spreadsheets meant vital information was lost.

Any error found within a spreadsheet has the possibility to have major repercussions for organisations. Spreadsheets used to house valuable lead generation data could be rendered completely useless, especially if any information hasn’t been correctly carried over from other spreadsheets or online forms. The repercussions of this could range from unusable data to GDPR violations if left undetected. 


How can costly spreadsheet errors be prevented?

It’s not always within the scope of a business to manage and oversee IT functions, especially where resources might be stretched, or more critical matters take priority. Sometimes it can simply be that navigating appropriate software is difficult and time-consuming. With the majority of spreadsheets in the Forbes investigation already featuring errors, that’s enough to warrant a change. There are easy steps that organisations can take to ensure your data is always protected:

  • Explore the offerings from Microsoft Dynamics 365

Leveraging a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, like Microsoft Dynamics 365, could be the way forward for businesses to reduce the risk of disaster. The bespoke platform can help to reduce costly human errors by centralising data in a secure platform, with optimised workflows and tailored processes to support your business. For businesses that already utilise a lot of Microsoft 365 programmes, this platform can work in extension to existing services.

  • Hire a specialist team to integrate systems

From the point of consultancy, specialist teams are able to fully understand a business’ needs for software and data integration. In addition to developing bespoke applications and automation processes, specialists can train Dynamic 365 users for specific processes created for organisations.

  • Test spreadsheets more often

Although this is not the most timely or cost-effective for businesses, those who want to minimise human error could evaluate and test existing spreadsheets. Another set of eyes is more likely to pick up any mistakes, but it isn’t a stable way to ensure all errors are accounted for. It also requires an individual to have an excellent working knowledge of Excel.


Who has taken action to remove spreadsheet disasters from their organisation?

Ensuring accurate data handling and employing automated processes aren’t suited to just one organisation or sector. Instead, multiple industries can make the most of this integrated approach to handling data. With Pragmatiq, these companies switched from clunky spreadsheet use to seamless integration:

  • James’ Placea robust real-time system for data is vital for this charity. Through a new reporting setup, it enabled efficient improvements and control over business operations.
  • George Davies Turf –
  • Impact Handling – the quoting tool has saved around 75% of any manual administrative time previously spent on processing orders.

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