Spreadsheets are the technological equivalent of cockroaches: They've been in existence for decades, they can spread like wildfire, and no one has quite figured out how to stop their proliferation-even if they really, really want to.
The thing is, though, many business users don't view Excel as an accomplice in committing crimes against the company; they consider it one of their most trusted technological friends. That user affinity has made mitigating spreadsheet use similar to using a cheap "bug spray" to wipe out cockroach infestations: The roaches always return.
In turn, vendors-especially those with business intelligence plays-have finally shifted to a "Live and Let Live" strategy for spreadsheets. New technologies aim to integrate spreadsheet data into sanctioned corporate information streams and depositories. The transition hasn't been easy, but it's finally catching on.
It's a worthy thought to consider: Before BI was a multibillion-dollar apps, development and database market with analytic packages and fancy dashboards, the spreadsheet was the de facto BI app. People know and love their spreadsheets.
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