Here are the top ten justifications for spreadsheets that I hear from EHS and remediation executives:

1. They are easy and every human being on the planet knows how to use them.
2. I have a person(s) that manages all of the updates, versions, and rollups.
3. If they are not broke and they get the job done, why change?
4. Other than for periodic reporting, the data in the spreadsheets doesn’t help us manage or improve our business.
5. We have so many projects and project teams, I don’t know of a better option.
6. We have so few projects that anything other than spreadsheets wouldn’t add value.
7. Our auditors have signed off on them and they wouldn’t want to change.
8. Changing to something else would be too difficult for our team and suppliers.
9. I would have to involve IT if I wanted to use another type of software.
10. We might change in the future but it’s not a top priority right now.

You’re right if you detect a little sarcasm here – but these are actual reasons from real leaders in this industry. The flip side to this story is that these same leaders talk to me about their business strategies and goals, which include some very critical performance concerns around reserve growth, unplanned accrual adjustments, and the never-ending cycle of expenditure and replenishment.

The above list contains some truths (spreadsheets are easy, change can be hard), some myths (something other than spreadsheets wouldn’t add value, the data can’t be used to improve actual performance), and some opportunities (there is a better way, IT will support you if you have a business case).

ENFOS has developed a series of capability maturity models for reserve management program assessment that point out the specific “best management practices” that just can’t be replicated using spreadsheets and homegrown databases. As an example, change management practices for remedial strategy and alternative scenarios around work scope, desired end points, lifecycle forecasts, and risk reduction over a multi-year horizon simply become too much for a spreadsheet(s) to handle. In addition to that, the key data elements are basically hidden and rendered useless after the initial first pass.

The ENFOS business capability assessment is designed to provide the remediation executive with a business case and roadmap to finally do away with all of those spreadsheets. If you have made it this far in the article and I still have your interest, contact us to get more details.