Escape from Spreadsheet Captivity

You know exactly where you want to go. You can see your goal. You have the tools you need to get there. But you keep getting tangled up in spreadsheet chaos.

Spreadsheets are attractive and seductive. They fill in the gaps in your work processes. They are flexible and inexpensive. Spreadsheets work well for small and informal applications where the formulas can easily be checked, interest is in seeing immediate changes in the data, and where the user wants to see all the data and calculations.

Spreadsheets — How you got caught

  • Solution configured to precisely match user design
    • Adequate for simple monitoring and reporting
    • Handles nearly any scenario on a “one off” basis
    • Users comfortable with using spreadsheets to “fill in white spaces”
    • Very flexible, under user control
    • No IT involvement or oversight
  • Very low licensing cost
  • Minimal Training

There are downsides. Long term spreadsheet dependency can have a negative effect on efficiency and organizational capabilities adding unnecessary operational risk. Spreadsheet models are not well-suited to represent complex dynamics. They are difficult to explain to others, prone to errors, and perpetuate manual work processes. Spreadsheets are flexible but high risk, time consuming, and wasteful of resources.

Spreadsheet Weaknesses



  • Scalability
    • Scaling to enterprise level data volume is not possible
    • Spreadsheets fail when the model or database must be significantly enlarged and shared.
  • Individual users are solely responsible for content and upgrades
    • Spreadsheets become unsupportable as personnel move on
  • Going beyond a spreadsheet’s intended design capabilities is inefficient
    • Difficulty maintaining spreadsheet processes accurately over time
  • Easily corruptible
    • Spreadsheets are easy to change and hard to manage
    • Data and formulas aren’t always consistently updated
    • Multiple errors creep in over time invalidating spreadsheet results
    • Errors are often cumulative
  • Hard to trace issues or audit processes
    • Difficult to prevent and detect the reporting of inaccurate or incomplete information
  • Security is easily breached

Habit may be the most compelling reason that users continue to use spreadsheets for complex processes. For simple problems, spreadsheets were the answer, but with higher well counts, complex operations and more data to manage, new technology is necessary. You need immediate access to relevant data and actionable information. Replacing an existing tool or process with one that delivers superior performance and greater capabilities is an easy decision.

One Virtual Source provides state-of-the-art analytic data and process automation.



The One Virtual Source software framework accesses your data with live connections to provide an integrated view without replication or migration. There is no need to constantly enter and move data through spreadsheets. One Virtual Source connects to any data from a comprehensive list of data sources including all of your relational databases, real-time historians, and unstructured data, such as spreadsheets, without changing the underlying structure or displacing existing systems. Once connected, the data is available to you through visualization and is delivered to automated workflows that match your organization’s processes. Individuals are freed from the expensive and chaotic task of managing workflows manually.

One Virtual Source automates the time-consuming and confusing process of navigating through a tangle of spreadsheets, applications and data sources. Our Surveillance by Exception module delivers the information and analysis you need to solve today’s challenges without having to sift through masses of irrelevant clutter.

By decreasing data management requirements and automating workflows, you eliminate errors, reduce risk, and make standardized business and operational intelligence readily available to any who need it.  Valuable engineering and operational resources are freed to concentrate on high value tasks, such as optimizing performance.

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