Feeds

An answer to spreadsheet hell

Mobius makes life easier

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Since I wrote my white paper (available for free download) on the problems of spreadsheets last year, a number of vendors have come up with a variety of solutions, not least Microsoft, which has substantially improved the security and auditability of Excel in Office 12, though it still lacks facilities like cell level locking. However, the best solution I have seen to-date comes from Mobius.

Mobius is a long-time player (25 years) in the content and records management space, specialising in very high volume and very highly scalable solutions. On top of this solution it has a product line called ABS: audit and balancing systems. What this does is to check across databases and content repositories to ensure that balance is maintained. Thus it can check, for example, that a remittance statement ties up with an appropriate sales ledger entry and, if it does not, then the software can kick off an appropriate process to restore the system to balance.

What has this got to do with spreadsheets? Well, nothing as yet but bear with me. Mobius has a stand-alone part of the ABS suite called ABS Spreadsheet for Compliance, which was released towards the end of last year. In effect, this allows you to run Excel within the Mobius environment. Except for the fact that identity management is applied when you open up Excel (that is, you have to log in) end users will see no change in the way they use it. However, there is a lot of extra stuff under the covers.

To begin with, there is full security (including cell level locking) and auditability. There is also version control, which applies not just to data but also to formulae and macros. There is also a built-in review and approval process (actually, this is one other area where users may see a change) which is itself auditable and you can append comments, notes and so forth to spreadsheets, all of which are similarly captured.

So far, so good. But it gets better. In June this year, Mobius will be introducing its next release of this product. This will provide two major enhancements. First, it will integrate with ABS itself (it already integrates with ViewDirect, which is the company’s content management solution). What this will mean is that you will be able to balance and reconcile data between spreadsheets and source applications – in other words, you will actually be able to check that the data is still valid and hasn't been overwritten.

Secondly, and this is the real kicker: in the June release, Mobius will be introducing automated spreadsheet consolidation. That is, you will be able to roll up figures from lower-level spreadsheets into higher ones. Now, consider the implications of that for a moment.

There are lots of times companies want to roll-up figures in spreadsheets. But what is the most common? Probably planning, budgeting and consolidation. Every CPM (corporate performance management) vendor will tell you horror stores about companies using Excel for this purpose, who take weeks to perform consolidations, for example. Well, with the June release of ABS Spreadsheet for Compliance it becomes a much more plausible option to stay with Excel. I'm not saying that it might not still be a good idea to move to Cartesis, Cognos or whoever, but Mobius' solution certainly poses the question and I expect a significant number of companies will look on it favourably.

Copyright © 2006, IT-Analysis.com

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'
Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.