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Spreadsheet Fever
Feb 25

Spreadsheets. They're so cool.

But what if you want to combine the information on different spreadsheets together? Aggregate them? Slice, dice and do a bit of analysis? You know. Seriously use them.

Well then, in that case, they're a big pain in the you-know-what. If this is you, you're not alone. The problem is common in organizations of all sizes. It's called Spreadsheet Fever.

Does your company have Spreadsheet Fever?

Unfortunately, the CDC, the Center For Disease Control, does not recognize this disease. You're on your own. So all of us here at Aestiva have gotten together and compiled information to help you identify whether your firm is suffering from the disease. The most common environmental factors are:

1. You Receive Spreadsheets.
This puts you in constant contact with this vermin. Exposure can include spreadsheets passed to you for review or approval. Infection is almost always assured, but may be very mild. Symptoms can include the occasional delusion that a spreadsheet "ran away" and was hiding out in another email message or folder. Or you could have the mild symptom of "seeing double" and not knowing which spreadsheet to use. These symptoms disrupt your day but are considered relatively mild. If you come into greater contact with spreadsheets infections will likely become more severe.

2. You Aggregate Spreadsheets.
This genre of tasks puts you in full contact with this infectious material. If you have to gather spreadsheets together, organize them, or extract information from them then a severe infection can result. Symptoms can include spending hours in a semi-comatose state as you perform mindless tasks. In the most severe cases the individual is temporarily transformed into a drone -- repeating the same action over and over, sometimes thousands of times without escape. The individual suffers a wide range of feelings, including feeling like a "zombie," a human "calculating machine" and an "unbalanced postal clerk."

3. You Copy Spreadsheets.
Your task may include creating one spreadsheet from another, taking information from a spreadsheet and placing it into an accounting or ERP or other kind of software system, or saving the information into a CSV file and passing it to another party. Either way, this class of tasks is bound to get you infected. Symptoms include "triple-check-itus" where you feel a compulsive need to repeatedly check your work for fear of mistakes and failure, and "reconcile-osis," a more severe form of the ailment, where the fears give rise to debilitating periods of inane activities such as cross-checking a column of numbers against another, the compulsive hunt for a number in a haystack of hundreds of other numbers, or the propensity to create imaginary creatures called "round-off" or "two-small-to-worry-about."

The suffering and hardship created by Spreadsheet Fever is worst on those who hide their symptoms from their peers. Few want to complain openly. The human toll can be huge. Plus, it affects those most important to healthy business operations -- making the disease particularly costly -- the business side of this terrible disease.

Eradicating Spreadsheet Fever

The Spreadsheet Fever epidemic is widespread and relentless. Organizations have made valiant attempts to eradicate the disease. Firms have created special "robots" to handle the spreadsheets. Others have built custom "tools" to convert the spreadsheets into PDFs, databases, and eForms in the hope of rendering them less infectious.

At Aestiva we know finding a cure is more important than ever. The disease is more debilitating than it appears on the surface. Managers and staff in semi-comatose states and elevated states of fear and anxiety affect the entire organization. The disease affects important business metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators) such as "turn-around', "employee satisfaction', "operational transparency" and can even affect "product delivery times," and "supplier cost. " The disease can go undetected for years, adversely affecting "bottom-line profits." In some industries it affects the entire supply chain.

Finding a Cure

Most professionals treat the symptoms of the disease. Not the underlying cause. At Aestiva we ask you eliminate the source of the problem itself -- the spreadsheet you pass around. We have build a powerful platform called Power Office. Users don't fill out spreadsheets at all. Instead, users fill out electronic forms. The approach has successfully eradicated spreadsheet fever in organizations around the world.

Want to limit spreadsheet fever in your organization? We invite you to give Aestiva a call. Our team of compassionate healers are standing by to help. So give us a call. Together we can make the workplace safer, happier, and a healthier place for all.









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