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When Good Data Goes Bad -  Spreadsheets and Incident Management

| March 22, 2022 | By

In many business and manufacturing environments, it’s common not to have any documentation of technical procedures or solutions to problems.

There is also little documentation on the control of incidents and requests made in the internal organization.

Technicians must remember everything.

They must remember the different services they have provided and if there are any pending requests as well.

Spreadsheets have become a popular resource for many businesses these days.

They use it to organize, calculate, and gain insights into their data, but more and more businesses are choosing automation instead.

Automation is becoming a trend in many industries, one of the key reasons being human error prevention.

Automation reduces risk and eliminates the need for repetitive tasks to be completed manually.

As your business grows and develops, the amount of data you’ll have will increase drastically.

Spreadsheets have a high risk of human error because they require manual data entry and manipulation.

When a formula is broken, the reliability and accuracy of the data will be disrupted, which no company can afford to depend on.

This blog post will explore why spreadsheets are vulnerable to human error and a few ways to help reduce them, and how Incident Management can be a valuable solution.

Reasons Spreadsheets Are Susceptible to Human Errors

Data Entry Errors Are Inevitable

Something as simple as one error in a formula, number, or formatting can lead to skewed or inaccurate data.

According to a recent study, at least 88% of spreadsheets contain one error.

Data is a critical asset to any company, and compromised data can cause various problems for your business.

Lost opportunities, lack of insights, forecasting abilities, and lost profits are all possible effects that compromised data can have on your business.

Spreadsheets often used for tasks they were not designed to perform and are beyond their capabilities often lead to a higher risk for error in the spreadsheet.

Spreadsheets are not compatible with simple troubleshooting because data is often scattered throughout various sheets, folders, versions, and departments.

No Clear Formatting Rules

Customizing sheets can be seen as a good feature for altering every aspect of them, but it can also be seen as a downfall for documents shared and edited by multiple groups.

When data is altered without prior knowledge or deleted by accident, having this large scale of flexibility creates a higher likelihood of human errors.

Real-Time Data Is Difficult

Spreadsheets are documents containing information in rows and columns that does not change.

As your business changes, there is no way for the spreadsheet to update this data automatically.

This leaves room for error when someone must manually update the spreadsheet every time something changes.

Generic templates and formulas can be difficult to use because it is hard to forecast and report on data that you have gathered over the years.

Lack of Security

Spreadsheets are not always the most secure way to store information, but there are ways to lock and add passwords on commonly used tools, like Microsoft Office documents or Microsoft Excel files.

Many companies do not take the time to encrypt their data; additionally, those with access could duplicate the data if a password is applied.

When your business needs to store proprietary or sensitive data, such as inventory management and financial records, it is important to ensure your data is secure and not easily accessible by others.

Spreadsheets are often shared through email or taken off-site with a USB drive, so this also leaves your data vulnerable to external security breaches.


Scan for Errors Regularly

Double-check your work while completing it and take time to enter data correctly; this will help against the risk of entering an improper formula, number, or format.

Pay attention to these small details for data that is accurate and reliable.

The number of errors can be decreased when a spreadsheet is compiled by a group rather than an individual.

A study found that three groups made 78% fewer errors than one individual.

To ensure the security of your sheets, assign a group password to enter the spreadsheet and make it available to the group.

This will make it so that nobody can edit the sheet without entering a password and only members of this group have access to these sheets.

This will help avoid and address human errors, so it is easier to trace back to what went wrong when an error occurs.

If you have a new version of Office 365 or Microsoft Teams, there are options to view the changes and revisions that have been made.

They can be restored to previous versions if errors occur.

Best practices should also be implemented for those who use the spreadsheets so that it is impossible to change certain areas.

Implement an Incident Management Solution

Incident Management Solutions converts your data in real-time and turns them into predictive and actionable insights.

With incident management software, you can store all company information within one location, giving employees access to it based on their roles.

Using incident management software will not eliminate the need for excel spreadsheets, but it will allow you to automate processes, simplify reporting and streamline core financial activities.

In addition, it will give your business confidence in the reliability of its data.

With the implementation of these tools, your company can save time and money on resources and avoid human errors in the workplace.

Organizations with multiple entities usually face a more complex error-prone consolidation process consisting of various calculations, adjustments, and manual entries.

Incident management enables collaboration between departments which gives visibility into things like projects, customers, inventory levels, and more.

These solutions allow you to make and pull reports with all the information in one place.

It is important to allocate time for employees to be trained during the implementation of a new solution so that they know how to use all the features.

Over to You

In conclusion, it is very difficult to use spreadsheets without human error.

You can lessen the room for errors by implementing best practices or integrating automation.

To learn more about the solutions we offer at 24/7 Software, Request a Demo now. 

Learn how to build your incident management infrastructure

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