Risk Management: Problems with Spreadsheets?

Steven Minsky | Nov. 21, 2006

One of the key challenges within the risk, performance, compliance and business continuity areas of the corporation is the management of data in spreadsheets and other office files, often referred to as unstructured data. Spreadsheet control issues for accounting processes have also surfaced in response to Sarbanes-Oxley.

Not only do spreadsheets lack the authentication, audit trail, and integrity, but they also lack accessibility to roll-up information into an enterprise wide picture. This is a critical barrier to systematically identify dependencies and track change.

Information within spreadsheets is largely inaccessible to infrastructure tools like business intelligence, content management and business process management functionality and the cost of maintenance of this data is unreasonable. The presence of spreadsheets is a symptom of manual processes which are also typically both expensive and error prone.

One of the core value propositions of an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) software is to effectively solve this problem of collecting and managing unstructured risk and performance data.

A robust ERM software solution should provide a risk taxonomy for risk data so that your ERM program can bring together unstructured and structured data across the enterprise to improve business decision making. This framework for organizing data provides the foundation for increased quality and efficiency for risk assessments as well as a process for aggregation and analysis of risk information for dependencies.

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