Midsized companies crushed under spreadsheets

More than a third of midsized companies say that the sheer weight of spreadsheets is having a negative impact on their business, according to a new IBM survey.

More than a quarter (28 per cent) of midsized businesses struggled with controlling spreadsheets, while seven per cent said it was having a major negative impact.

Clive Longbottom, analyst for Quocirca, which carried out the survey, said that one of the problems was midsized business often used Microsoft Excel to track data, which he said by its very nature was a non-shared environment.

He also said such firms were allowing users to store spreadsheet data locally on C' drives, rather than XY' or shared' drives.

He said: "A large proportion of the information which is needed for business intelligence (BI) and performance management within an organisation is being held in places where it is very difficult to get hold of."

The study was of 100 board-level decision makers of midsized companies. There are around 19,000 business of this type in Britain, contributing to about a third of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

Although nearly a third of midsized businesses used shared folders to enable others to access data, nearly a quarter (24 per cent) depended on email to share information amongst themselves.

Longbottom said: "Email is great and it has a really strong part to play in an organisation, but the biggest issue I see here is that when people give or receive an email attachment, they will assume that is the latest version and won't know where to else to go to get the latest version."

He said that employees wouldn't know if the data had been changed by whomever it came from. It would also mean that there would be many different copies of the one original piece of data, which was also a storage management issue.

IT PRO recently celebrated 30 years of the spreadsheet.