Don’t be the next London whale and base your decisions on correct data and formulas

“Excel might be the most dangerous software on the planet”, was a quote used by Tim Worstall (Forrester) in 2013. We fully agree with this statement, here is why:


  • Wrong usage due to a ‘functional gap’. Many employees will turn to Excel to build their own functionalities as they can’t find what they need in the core IT applications. Excel’s original reason for existence is not to build your own apps but to perform calculations, so stop being the fool with the tool.


Your typical fool with a tool


  • Unsecured sharing of sensitive excel files. Many of your files will not have password protection enabled, and those who actually have will high likely contain a password that is widely known in the organization.
  • No control of the core structure in your file. There is a reason why Excel makes a difference between ‘using’ a file and ‘creating’ a file. Not everyone should have the capabilities to change the core structure as it significantly increases the room for errors, corrupt formulas and so on. Still, many of the excel files are not well managed in this context!
  • How many of your files are actually backed up and supported by IT in case of a major breakdown? That says it all, period.


A beautiful example of how things can go terribly wrong through Excel, is the London Whale incident. In a nutshell, one of the primary reasons why JP Morgan Chase lost Billions of dollars on the stock exchange was due to the fact that one of their traders used his own ‘custom build’ Excel file. And it shouldn’t be a surprise that this file contained … errors in business-critical decision-making formulas.


Jamie Dimon – CEO of JP Morgan Chase


The moral behind this story is that we should be cautious in using tools in a context for which it isn’t intended for. So instead of using an Excel for building the above (London Whale) example, why not use low code application development to achieve better results?


Low coding… say what?!


First, let’s set the scene. A low code development platform enables rapid delivery of (mobile) business solutions with a minimum of hand-coding and lower upfront investment in training and deployment than for ‘traditional’ application development. In addition, the intented users of a low code development platform is not your traditional IT developer. Instead, the focus is on power users who typically are the people who are advanced users of Excel. So, moving these Excel experts towards a low code platform can be an ideal solution to some of the issues that you are currently encountering when using Excel:


  • Wrong usage due to a ‘functional gap’: thanks to the power of a low code platform, you can very quickly close these functional gaps by building new business applications. In addition, these applications are far more bullet proof compared to the Excel variants of it.
  • Unsecured sharing of sensitive excel files: The apps built with a low code platform are very well managed. You only share the usage to the people that actually need it, which immediately removed the issue of unsecured sharing that you have by using Excel.
  • No control of the core structure in your file: Same here, only the ‘authorized’ users can edit the actual application.
  • Back ups and IT support: As it’s a platform, it fully supports backups of your apps.


If your organization is addicted to Excel then we suggest to have a closer look to low code application development. Not sure where to start? Read our blog post on Microsoft PowerApps, a great low code development platform.

November 1, 2017

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Founded in 2016 and leading the way for all citizen developers and employees interested in low code platforms. Specializes in Microsoft PowerApps, Flow and the Common Data Services.

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