Interesting article out doing the rounds on the newswires announcing a forthcoming report called “The Enterprise Spreadsheet: Pushing towards Transparency” by the analyst firm the Tabb Group. It is great to see an analyst firm acknowledging the importance of spreadsheets within the markets, particularly in the area of combining data and analytics together in OTC derivatives management (see earlier post).
Adam Sussman of the Tabb Group reckons that despite its shortcomings, Excel is a valuable tool: “Spreadsheets, either alone or in conjunction with other components, can meet the same requirements as a business application.” In this he seems to be agreeing with the UK Regulator the FSA, who have been recently advocating that spreadsheets and spreadsheet data needs actively managing as an institutional resource. The findings of the Tabb Group on management also seem to echo a recent report called “Buy-Side Data Management in a Changing Landscape” done by Lepus for Asset Control.
Spreadsheets are a great tool and fulfil a real need in the market to pull together pricing models and data quickly, easily and with a timeframe that is meaningful to the business (see earlier post for some work by Xenomorph in this area). Spreadsheets are a big problem to manage, but they are also the symptom of failings in core systems that are not able to rapidly support new instrument types and pricing models. An institution that ignores analytics, spreadsheets and spreadsheet data within any EDM transparency initiative has already failed before it begins, and so to paraphrase the author Aldous Huxley:
“Spreadsheets do not cease to contain data because they are ignored.”