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Is an Excel risk register obsolete?

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Is an Excel risk register obsolete?

When it comes to technology and the work processes we employ daily, Bob Dylan said it best in 1964 – “the times they are a-changin’.” Technology has revolutionized and reinvented virtually every system and tool the average business utilizes – from databases and filing to project management.

When it comes to risk management, technology’s impact is apparent, and often welcomed. In a recent post, we examined the benefits of a web-based risk management application. Here we’ll continue our discussion on the role and advantages of technology in risk management by exploring the question, “is an Excel risk register obsolete?”

So, is an Excel risk register obsolete?
At the risk of sounding like an attorney, we’re going to answer this question with a qualified, “it depends.” Whether an Excel risk register is obsolete depends on your organization’s structure, goals and capabilities. For some organizations, an Excel-based system may be adequate and cost-effective for registering risk.

That said, the reason for the qualified “it depends,” is that ultimately there are very few companies that would not benefit from an innovative, web-based risk register solution. Web-based applications provide seamless options for data entry, advanced reporting and the ability to share both the platform and the information it contains with team members worldwide.

When to go web-based
Transitioning to a new system is never easy. Trading methods, tools and processes that – however slow and antiquated – are tried and true for something shiny, new and foreign requires a considerable amount of training, education and reassurance before staff begin to feel comfortable and work efficiently.

But harder still is knowing when the time is right to make a change. While there is rarely a perfect time to make the switch, there are a few indicators that can signal the need to upgrade to a web-based solution.

In a blog post, the team at Caspio offers the following five signs that it’s time to replace Excel spreadsheets with an online database. These signs are also applicable for risk managers evaluating the best solution for their risk register processes.

It’s time to move to a web-based system when:
You have multiple users trying to edit spreadsheets at the same time
You have to weed through multiple versions of the same file
You run into limitations sharing or linking spreadsheets
You are trying to collaborate using Excel online
You are managing sensitive data using an Excel password

The good news
While the switch to an online system may sound painful, the good news is that most systems allow you to easily export data and upload it into their application.

Sound familiar?
If you yourself have been asking, “Is my Excel risk register obsolete?” and you’re able to list “yes” next to some of the five signs outlined above, it may be time for a switch.

Contact us today to discuss how to make the change and what solutions Pro-Concepts offers to help bring your organization and its processes into the digital age.

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  • NIST 800-53
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