Regardless of the industry or department you work in, or the size of your organization, most of us have been exposed to the age old “embrace vs. replace” debate surrounding corporate spreadsheets. This topic has remained a polarizing argument, typically between business users and IT for many years. My question to the Jedox blog community is whether you think there is currently a change underway in the direction this argument is swinging?

On one side of the debate, we find those who remain champions of the “embrace” spreadsheets argument. This camp is typically business users who rely on spreadsheets as a critical tool to conduct their daily work. Spreadsheets are often deeply embedded within corporate data management and decision-making processes, used to manually consolidate datasets from a range of sources, with no functional or practical alternatives available. Spreadsheets are easy-to-use, available on any work, home or school computer, and have a mature, rich feature-set which users have come to rely on.

In 2010 Gartner analysts declared that efforts to stop Excel use (in the area of Business Intelligence) are futile. My question is with the appearance of new data discovery, planning, analytics and performance management technologies, do you think the spreadsheet still remains entrenched in today’s business environment for the foreseeable future?

On the other side of the debate, there are those championing the “replace” crusade against spreadsheets espousing the risks and challenges associated with data duplication and segmentation, access control and data security concerns, manual data manipulation risks from input errors and consolidation mistakes, etc. Companies like Anaplan, have even styled their entire organization, software and approach as the “spreadsheet killer”. My question has always been if an approach that focuses on eliminate spreadsheets, and requires business users to re-train and re-tool is realistic?

Looking forward to your comments – you can also comment on my LinkedIn post.

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