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End User Computing (EUC)

I'm getting my feet wet in a project which focusses on so-called "End-User Computing". What the heck is that you might ask. Well, it is any spreadsheet you've created to get your job done!

What is an EUC project?

EUC projects are all about trying to avoid what the business calls "Spreadsheet Hell". It is about bringing all those spreadsheets which are business-critical under control. Why? Because a number of regulations including Solvency II, SOX and Basel III require businesses to do so.

Why do EUC's exist?

(subtitled: why won't they go away?)
EUC's come to life where corporate systems lag behind the companies' needs. Adding functionality to enterprise systems often comprises starting (expensive) time consuming projects which may take several months to even get funded. In the meantime, business continues and workers are expected to satisfy the needs of their customers. In comes Excel! The worker just:
  • Exports the necessary data
  • Imports it into Excel and adds formulas and functions to do the calculations
  • May even do some VBA programming to automate parts of the process
  • And has a working (band-aid) solution!
Given the nature of this, it is highly unlikely that workers will ever stop developing their own solutions in Excel, EUC is here to stay!

Steps in an EUC project

The most important steps in an EUC project are:
  • Inventory: How big is my problem?
    Very important first step: get an idea of the magnitude of your problem! This process can be automated by software like Microsoft Audit and Control Management Server  or ClusterSeven
  • Get a list of critically important files
    This is most often a completely manual process where all managers are requested to come up with a list of the most important spreadsheets in their work areas.
  • Assess the state of the EUC's found
    Software like ClusterSeven is capable of analyzing your spreadsheet models on a number of potential issues. It will report those issues to you so you can sort those files on highest risk.
  • Expert reviews
    The absolute most important spreadsheets deserve extra attention. An expert review of those files is highly recommended. Expert reviews however are impossible without the right tools. I use a number of them:
  • Develop a policy
    Once the inventory is completed and reviews have been done (and problems eradicated!) it is time to think about what's next; how do we make sure the next generation of EUC's does not get "out of hand" and stays in control. One needs to stay up to date with:

Are you starting an EUC project?

Get hold of me, I can help!

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