Why spreadsheets won’t cut it for risk management

At Risk Decisions, our new customers are typically implementing our Predict! software, to replace their spreadsheet-based risk management setup. Spreadsheets are great for getting started, but they have many pitfalls for such an important business process. Here’s seven things Predict! risk management software does better than spreadsheets:


1. Accommodating simultaneous access

In Predict!, multiple people can create, update and manage risks at the same time, wherever they are in the world. If you did this in Excel, the risk of losing data would be significant.

2. Personalised view for each user

When logging into Predict!, every user sees exactly what they need and are allowed to see, tailored for them and their project, function etc. This would be impossible to achieve in a spreadsheet.

3. Consolidating all risks across the organisation

At the touch of a button, Predict! can run reports to tell you your risk exposure and opportunities in real time. Doing the same thing in Excel would take hours, if not days.

4. Audit trail control

Risk management software automatically creates an audit trail, telling you who changed what, when and why. This audit trail enables Predict! to provide a detailed history of all risks and actions, prepare reports based on the status at a previous date, and provide trending information. Spreadsheets don’t have this capability

5. Linking project schedules and risks

With Predict!, schedule and cost risk analysis models are created automatically. This means you can run risk analysis quickly and as often as you need. Building models manually is time consuming. Crucially this distracts your attention from understanding schedule confidence and the contingency budget, and where to focus management attention. The focus that will improve your business outcomes e.g. profitability.

6. Easy integration with corporate reporting

You can take information from Predict! Risk Controller into your reporting tool. You can then either build your own risk reports, or integrate risk information into your enterprise dashboard. This is a fast and secure way of integrating risk into your corporate reporting.

7. Easily maintained and data integrity assured

With Predict! you avoid one of the biggest issues with spreadsheets. The more complicated they become, with links between cells on different sheets, hidden calculations and complex macros, the easier it is for a spreadsheet to become unintentionally corrupted. If the person who developed the spreadsheet leaves, it isn’t always straightforward to understand how everything works or even what steps need to be taken to produce the normal reports.

Helping you deliver change

Companies are increasingly recognising the challenges spreadsheets represent, but it can be a difficult transition for users because there are some really good things about Excel. It’s familiar and easy to use, and it’s flexible too – although that can be a disadvantage when you come to aggregate risks from different places! We know why people like Excel, and why they need a central risk management system.

So if some parts of your business still want, or need to use spreadsheets, our Excel interface RCLite allows them to do that while you still get the benefits of a sophisticated, database system. RCLite helps you deliver change by gradually weaning users off spreadsheet risk registers onto the corporate Predict! database.