3 Ways to Improve Business Spreadsheet Performance

Ever been stuck between a spreadsheet and a deadline? You and your team run at a million miles an hour. Spreadsheets are your go-to solution to prepare and manage data for every business problem and spreadsheet performance is something you just hope you won’t have to deal with. You probably use spreadsheets to bring in external data needed for reporting. You also use spreadsheets to prototype the impact of new reporting requirements that seem to change every quarter. You want to ensure you have the data you need and that you are in front of changes to keep your team contributing to your company success.


To keep you team’s momentum moving forward, here are 3 more ways we’ve learned to improve business spreadsheet performance.

1: Manage the size of your spreadsheets

While spreadsheets love holding your data and have an almost infinite capacity, too much data slows down your files. In fact large spreadsheet files are the key factor impacting spreadsheet performance when you need it most. It’s worth taking another look at what’s really needed – something that we have talked about before in one of our earlier blog posts. Plus, Microsoft is making Excel and spreadsheets smarter all the time, helping to manage the size of your spreadsheets by supporting access to known external data, reducing the amount of reference data you need to store and manage in your spreadsheets. Managing the size of your spreadsheets is always the number 1 to way improve enterprise spreadsheet performance. This makes it worth thinking about the data stored in your spreadsheets even before you think about how it’s organized.  

2: Separate inputs, calculations and outputs and score a data governance win

Taking a step back from the size of your spreadsheets we also see benefits in looking at how your data is organized. Looking at how data is used for calculations or modeling will help identify your actual data inputs and outputs and how these can be separated from your spreadsheet calculations. Often inputs, calculations and outputs are all co-mingled, growing the size of your spreadsheets and hindering performance.

Start by identifying your inputs – it’s often possible to get a big win on spreadsheet size by managing how you gather your inputs. Managing your inputs will more clearly identify your spreadsheet calculations. For most of us, that’s why we have the spreadsheet in the first place. Finally, reviewing the organization will also lead to a clearer view of the outputs of your spreadsheet. This fresh look at how your data is organized, will also be a win for data governance. We’ll have more on this entire topic in an upcoming post, so please take a moment to subscribe to keep up to date. All of this leads to more robust business spreadsheet performance with streamlined spreadsheets shedding unneeded data generating another win for the size of your spreadsheets. 

3: Focus on the users of your data and look to connect your data with the enterprise

Next, ask yourself “how is my data used and who is dependent on the data outputs from my spreadsheets?” This will drive you to look at more effective data access control. It’s okay to say not everyone has access to everything. It’s your data after all. Identifying who is dependent on the data outputs from your spreadsheets, the frequency that they need your team’s data, and what they do with it will also provide a framework to enable a solution around enterprise connectivity for your data. Having a flexible and scalable framework to think about how to share the outputs of your spreadsheet helps support this process, drives enterprise spreadsheet performance and frees up cycles for your team to continue to run at a million miles an hour with just a little more room to breathe!

Each of these 3 approaches provides systemic approach to higher performance enterprise spreadsheets. Looking for more ways to improve your enterprise spreadsheet performance or have a spreadsheet performance issue? Send your questions – we’d love to help.


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