Step Away from the Spreadsheet! Why Excel just won’t cut the Mustard for Transparency

To successfully manage data transparency in your organisation you need to know:

  1. Who’s got data
  2. When they need to publish it by
  3. If they have published it by the deadline

That seems sensible, right? So how do you keep track of it all?

I bet you’re tempted to say – “a spreadsheet!” But steer clear, it’s a terrible idea and here’s why…

Think about it.  Keeping a list in excel is no better than attempting to manage it all with pen and paper. We say don’t add to your workload – that way madness lies.

Excel isn’t built for tracking time or notifying people for you

This makes it a rubbish tool for transparency. Recognising deadlines will be up to you and your brain, as a result, you’ll have to do ALL the follow up with data owners manually. It’s HUGELY time-consuming – let’s face it, constantly checking and filling-in a spreadsheet? You’ve got other better things to do, surely?

You WILL make mistakes

When you’re several months down the line and have hundreds or thousands of columns and rows in your sheet, the possibility of missing information or not entering it correctly increases.

What’s more, if you want your team members to help maintain the lists and add to it you’ll have issues with version control and getting them to remember to update you or your spreadsheet when they’ve published something.

So why use a tool that slows you down, requires a lot of manual input, and has so much room for error? We’re not saying that using Excel is completely impossible, we just don’t recommend it (seriously!).

Don’t panic!

We aren’t going to leave you without an answer to your transparency problem.

We believe a good tool should be making your job easier – it should help you answer all those who, what and when questions quickly, so you can get on with other things.

That’s exactly why we developed CompliancyView – our hassle-free online service that coordinates and publishes transparency data.

The simple dashboard lists all the data sets that are due automatically works out when you need to update them, and sends reminders to the people who own the data. All you have to do is keep an eye on things occasionally.

And did we mention? It also publishes everything to data.gov for you. So that’s co-ordinating and hosting all wrapped up. You can even use the link generated by data.gov to put data on your own website.