New spreadsheet technology can save companies time
Spreadsheets are used in most companies and are often a source of frustration, but they also have great potential. Associate Professor Peter Sestoft from the IT University of Copenhagen has developed an implementation that simplifies work with advanced models in spreadsheets.
Spreadsheets are an inevitable part of many people's work life and are often considered insufficient and temporary replacements for 'real' IT systems. But a new spreadsheet implementation developed by Peter Sestoft, Associate Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, allows ordinary users to customize advanced spreadsheets to their specific needs without needing any programming skills. This could save companies both time and resources.
Makes life easier
The finance sector is one of the industries that can benefit from his research.
“The idea is to make life easier for people who work with complicated models in spreadsheets, for instance valuation of stocks, contracts and so on. Typically, these models are not developed by software experts, but by experts in financial instruments,” says Peter Sestoft.
“Spreadsheets contain huge amounts of repetitions because it isn’t possible to create user-defined functions without external programming languages such as VBA. The idea behind my implementation is that important items in the models are factorized as useful features that can be altered. So for example, when the financial analyst sees that a model can be improved, he does not have to contact the IT department, who might take three months to do it.”
Flexible and efficient spreadsheets
The implementation can thus make existing spreadsheet programs more flexible and effective.
“It’s pointless to expect that Excel has all the features people might need, but it’s also annoying that you can’t add what you need,” says Peter Sestoft.
Calendar functions like holidays and week numbers are examples of features that cause unnecessary inconvenience.
The implementation is still in the prototype stage, but Peter Sestoft hopes that companies in for instance the finance industry will support further research that can pave the way for implementing the technology in programs like Excel.