Sunday 27 May 2007

Spreadsheets,Mashing and Social Software

Oregon State University have developed a new way to tackle the problem of spreadsheet errors. If you're not familiar with the issue, spreadsheet errors are common and can cost organisations a lot of money.

Its interesting that they say Oregon State University say:

"spreadsheet use and development is so common that it is frequently being done by people with very limited training or interest in computer software programming. These "end users" of computer software don't have the background to investigate codes, programs or formulas, they just want the program to work, and often erroneously assume that it does."

Of course, not every spreadsheet is critical, but if we think of Web 2.0 mashing tools as the conceptual descendents of the spreadsheet (an early mashing tool IMHO) then its important that we have safe guards in place. Ideally these could be a combination of automated checks, tested templates and the wisdom of the crowds (which is the icing on the Web 2.0 cake). This is something I've talked about before.

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