Eusprig Website update

Eusprig – The European Spreadsheet Interest Group has had a website face lift.

It marks a massive improvement, not just in the look, but also the content, and more importantly the image of the organisation.

I had pretty much stopped linking to the old site as it did not show the organisation in the sort of professional light that I think is appropriate.

A proper website update was one of the key things I pushed for whilst I was on the Eusprig committee. I am not on it now, but I am pleased to see the website bloom.

Indeed I had pretty much given up on Eusprig, I didn’t bother going to the conference this year, having been for the previous 4 years and spoken twice – err thrice, (maybe I’ve attended 5 years?).

The topic for the 2010 conference is finally the one I think we need to get to. OK we know errors are in spreadsheets, but finally there will be a conference looking at real world solutions to this very real issue. I may even submit a paper for consideration.

Will you? (its a bit of an odd ‘pay to present’ set up, which is largely (and rightly) discredited as overly salesy, but Eusprig try to manage that through the review process).

What do you think of the new site?

Will you be attending the 2010 conf in London in July to discuss reducing and managing errors in spreadsheets?

I sometimes get the feeling that the world has moved on from spreadsheet quality, but XLAnalyst is still one of the most downloaded apps from codematic. Have you moved on, or is it still very much on your agenda?

cheers

Simon

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11 Responses to “Eusprig Website update”

  1. Charles Says:

    I went to one EUSPRIG conference but was disappointed by the mixture of overly commercial and overly academic presentations.
    Hpefully this has improved.

  2. Mike Staunton Says:

    It’s still difficult to know if it’s changed it’s spots – there are still lots of people wedded to vested interests of one sort or another for there to be much change in the short term, at least

    In some previous years, I’ve not gone due to a clash of dates but I might think about going next year

  3. Simon Says:

    Charles, thats not a bad summary sadly.
    Mike – thats true too, I guess when we see the program we’ll know more.

    I think having to pay to present encourages the gruesome sales bore-a-thons. The academic style peer review process encourages students/academics, whilst discouraging practitioners.
    I think for practical the Excel User confs are unbeatable.

    Eusprig have toned down the sales misery in recent years, and the academic stuff can be really useful. Like the latest research that shows that names are harder to audit for less experienced users, we all knew it, now there is a proper methodological study to prove it.

    I think there is plenty that could be improved with Eusprig but it’s still useful. I’d like to see more content from people that actually work with spreadsheets all day everyday, but I can’t really see it.

  4. Noah Says:

    Interesting that you feel that spreadsheet quality is no longer considered significant.

    With Sarbanes–Oxley in the US, Basel II in the EU, Bill 198 in Canada, J-SOX in Japan etc all with specific sections on risk mitigation from spreadsheets and financial reporting in IT systems, a shoddily developed spreadsheet is effectively illegal!

  5. Simon Says:

    Noah
    Who said quality is not considered significant?

    I get the feeling there is less *interest* in it, judged by news stories for example, or attendance at related conferences for example.

    I don’t see anything here suggesting anyone here thinks quality is not important, what are you refering to?

  6. Excel Training Says:

    I have heard the same as Noah. Spreadsheet quality is taken more seriously since the new laws.
    Billy Gee

  7. Dick Moffat Says:

    Taken seriously but not seriously enough to develop any kind of serious “best-practices” or serious enough to do serious training or serious enough to consider bringing in Excel “experts” to help with design and deployment of spreadsheets.

    I have tried to get MS to consider this as something they should focus on but their only interest is new sales and in the end I am afraid failure to bring a “serious” tone to spreadsheet design and usage will inevitably lead to its demise. And replaced with what? I really don’t know.

    Dick

  8. Simon Says:

    I’m happy to agree folks are definitely paying lip service to quality.

    But the last sox project I worked on they just wanted to catalogue the nightmare and call it ‘managed’. Rather than actually rebuild their more risky spreadsheets in a better way, and/or more appropriate technology.

    They are still carrying the (proven) risk, still wasting tons of (expensive professional) time working with appalling spreadsheets.

    I’m not seeing what I would consider ‘taken more seriously’ which is training, qualifications, professional bodies, sensible rates, best practice, policies with teeth, code of ethics, big news stories, viable tools/reusable component markets, increased demand for proven expertise, following the advice given etc etc. If you have any links/info please post them.

  9. Simon Says:

    Dick
    I think it already has – we are picking over the bones of a pretty thoroughly discredited technology (in IT circles at least). Of course its easy to throw stones, harder to suggest an appropriate alternative. We’re all still waiting for the silver bullet tech that has all the good of spreadsheets with none of the bad. And as the tech isn’t the root cause we’re going to be waiting a bit longer I think.

    MS will just buy that replacement when it makes itself known won’t they? if they are still around.

  10. dougaj4 Says:

    “And as the tech isn’t the root cause we’re going to be waiting a bit longer I think.”

    Exactly. In the engineering field it is taken as read that mistakes happen, whatever system is in place, so critical outputs need to be verified by an independent calculation, and the more critical the output, the more complete and more independent the review should be.

    Nonetheless we still get anti-Excel rants implying that spreadsheets are the source of all evil, and changing to some other software is the answer to all problems.

    Of course analysis outputs should be as accurate as possible, but proper independent review is the key to avoiding the inevitable mistakes resulting in major cock-ups .

  11. Noah Says:

    Sorry, but by saying the world had moved on I thought you implied that quality was no longer being regarded as significant by others which I would actually agree with because despite the umpteen regulations that are supposed to deal with this issue most seem to be easily side stepped.

    As you’ve also mentioned, I’ve seen projects for managing critical spreadsheets taken only as far as making a list (in excel) of critical spreadsheets and regarding this as a managed risk and somehow that takes care of any regulation requirements.

    It seems the cost of redevelopment is being regarded as greater than keeping things as they are. I can specifically recall being told by a fund manager not to make any changes to his spreadsheet even though he was well aware of the errors and was happy that it would crash a number of times a day but he had a process in place to deal with it and didn’t trust any changes being made!

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