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MS Excel vs. ECO2
Why a traditional spreadsheet solution will not suffice in the ETS scheme?

As we all now know the deadline for the Emissing Trading Scheme (ETS) programme is drawing near. The official deadline is January 1st 2005 with the first series of reports having to be produced by March of 2005.

Having conducted a series of interviews with registered National Allocation Plan (NAP) participants we at Atmoterm have discovered that many are still using traditional spreadsheet based solutions to solve these ever-increasing problems.

In this article we would like to present a number of reasons why we believe (and we are not alone, a lot of prominent business strategists in this area tend to agree with us) that a traditional spreadsheet based solution is ineffective for dealing with these reporting issues on a long-term basis.

  1. Lack of security
  2. Lack of reports or reporting feature
  3. Quality control
  4. Scalability
  5. Amateurish spreadsheets can cause errors throughout the entire file
  6. Data sharing issues
  7. Few and often no possibilities to research company profits for CO2 allowances, past, present and future
  8. Inadequate tool when data is coming from large numbers of users
  9. Inadequate tool for data analysis
  10. Auditability (inability to track the path of when the information was created or appended to the source data)
  11. A spreadsheet solution was never intended as a substitute for a relational database management solution
  12. Not a system where the data contained within can be managed by the whole company
  13. Incapable of processing large amounts of data
  14. Network access - only one user can use the system at any one time
  15. No possibilities to predict the company's future if changes occur, no scenario creation facility.
  16. Spreadsheet don't have any control tools which can help manage all reports, data, functions etc.
  17. No control of legal requirements, user has to control all of this by himself, in a centralised database this can be done automatically.
  18. Spreadsheet reports are not as flexible as professional ERP systems. User cannot create as many reports as they would be able to do on a customised database without increasing the risk of making mistakes.
  19. The user must create the spreadsheet alone and has to know at least a few functions, and must make all the necessary changes in the relevant files.
  20. Hard to find a mistake in functions especially when there are many files.
  21. Extremely difficult to find quickly needed and much requested information for management and directors.

If you're still not convinced after reading this, then perhaps we can suggest taking a look at the following website www.eusprig.org/stories.htm from the European Spreadsheet Risk Interest Group. This highlights a number of critical errors and mistakes that really have occurred when using traditional spreadsheet solutions.

Conclusion

A spreadsheet solution may have served your needs efficiently until now however in light of the new criteria and the seriousness of the CO2 market, we strongly believe that is time to think of a new environmental management strategy. One that will take care of all of your environmental needs and will produce all of the required report.

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ATMOTERM S.A. Opole POLAND tel. +48 77 4426666 fax +48 77 4426695 e-mail: support@atmoterm.com