We’re at a precipice. There are all kinds of integration and API options to link disparate business systems, but we often can’t connect the proverbial dots because we’re still relying on old technology, such as a FoxPro or Access database, or even worse, a compilation of Excel spreadsheets.
I know, I know, old habits die hard. However, we have a choice: either we make the leap to bring our offices into the latest technologies, or we continue to analyze data and crunch numbers manually, or worse, we can’t even find the data that needs to be analyzed.
A little story: I once had a co-worker who referred to herself as the VLookup Whiz because she was so good at building pivot tables in Excel. Let’s be clear on why: she couldn’t get the reports and data she needed from her source systems. While our company purchased tools and technology, they didn’t really invest in the ongoing upgrades. Instead, they paid her a lot of money to do very manual analysis, and she was, quite frankly, capable of a whole lot more than VLookups. The irony was that she had a few master’s degrees, but said she went to college so that she could build spreadsheets. It was, in summary, a little insulting to her, and she knew it; she was capable of much more.
So, tell me, do any of the following challenges sound familiar?
- You have a sole employee—and keeper of knowledge—who is the only one who knows how to store, access and report on your sensitive corporate data
- You use Microsoft Access or FoxPro databases and/or Excel spreadsheets to get critical work complete instead of using a robust information management system
- There is limited visibility and ability for everybody to swiftly access organizational data
- You see an inordinate number of databases, each containing redundant or even siloed information
- You have a perpetual feeling that you are operating at high-risk because data is being stored locally and is only visible to a subset of users
- Your canned and custom reports that only tell part of the story, and you need new reports to get the full download on where your organization truly stands
If you said yes to any of these things (and let’s face it, you probably did), then it’s time to introduce change. This is a call to action to stop the insanity. The first step is to identify what databases need an upgrade. The second step is to identify what data you really need and start building some canned or automated reports. I am not saying this is easy. It’s going to take work and a concerted willingness to transform, but it has to happen. Companies that keep data buried in old databases that are not supported anymore are wasting money, rather than spending it wisely.
ZNet posted an amusing article a few years ago about dead technologies. It’s a little IT humor, and it is funny, until we recognize that some workplaces still have Windows XP and FoxPro lingering: unsupported technologies that bring little to no value.
It’s time, and every day that passes puts your visibility into true corporate performance at risk.
Ready to start tackling that old database and diminish risk? Click here.