If you touch back office technology, you hear a recurring chorus: we need to get people off excel. In this CPA Practice Advisor piece, Thack Brown of SAP describes spreadsheets as "archaic" and highlights the advantages of real estate CFOs moving beyond it. It's 100% true: spreadsheets are decades old technology, from a period that predates dial-up internet.
I can tell you from experience that this old technology is beloved with an intensity that many a techy is unprepared for. Generations of numbers people built their careers and their entire mindset around cells, formulaes and pivot tables. Saying they should leave it behind isn't offering them a new tool; it's striking at their soul.
So what's the solution - endless excel plug ins? It probably doesn't hurt. But more fundamentally, the new technology has to be continuous with this excel mindset. Whatever the back office stack of the future looks like, it will be built on a foundation on excel.
Move Beyond the Spreadsheet The next generation of corporate real estate management is moving beyond the archaic, manual spreadsheet model. CFOs today are tasked with being more than a financial leader, but a strategic partner that helps guide business decisions. In this, they need a clear picture of the company’s real estate assets to understand the costs and investments accrued around each lease. Having aggregated data in separate systems and formats across multiple locations can lead to sub-optimized facilities, directly impacting the company’s EBIT. To obtain a real-time, holistic view, CFOs need a more integrated approach. By integrating cognitive technologies and automation tools to existing ERP systems, finance and corporate real estate teams can manage real estate assets under a single umbrella.