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I have seen a lot big companies fron the "inside", and you cannot even begin to imagine what is handled using excel sheets.
To me, the fact that it is so easy to program is partially responsible for the big mess. Making everybody to a potential sw developer was not the best idea.
I have 2, the first one was for a car distributor in Oz, I did their entire cashflow projection in excel. Pulling data from a myriad of sheets, an AS400 and a bank feed. When I told the MD I had failed to get an accurate figure as it was about $200k out he was delighted, they had never got closer than $500k.
The second was a contract for a financial org as in finance supplier not a bank. Their entire operation was run on spreadsheets, no database, nothing. I spent a day looking into the mess and rejected the contract. 2 years later they went tits up owing millions to joe public.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity
A project management system spanning twenty or so files and hundreds of tabs, all with cross references and formulas and "special solutions".
When the guy that managed it went into pension the whole house of cards fell apart and the company barely survived.
I learnt spreadsheeting on Lotus 123. I had a project to put together some sheets to calculate costings for digging cable trenches back in the 80's. It started as the engineer providing routing data and then calculating the dig cost, then it evolved to the engineer giving topographical data and it worked out the cheapest route. No macros, just pure cell functionings. A great piece of work.
Later I was involved in an abomination that even the scryptboyz would run a mile from. It pulled had pushed into it holdings, prices and greeks for a portfolio and it produced the program trade list for sending to brokers. I was able to reproduce it as a component within the system that held the real correct and valid data, instead of lumps of guess work that were as stable as jelly in an earthquake. The new component even allowed some fiddling with the results as that was the reasoning behind the bastard child of a bastard that was in use. The brain-fecked traders 'preferred' to use the spreadsheet...
One of the accountants we have working with us is frighteningly skilled with Excel. She has managed (with no formal training) to create a myriad of sheets that all link and interact in order to assist the analysts; much to the chagrin of us software developers and IT. Her most recent accomplishment was to figure out how to connect Excel directly to our production database and managed to generate a query that literally maxed out our 12 core, 32GB ram database server for 5 SOLID MINUTES bringing the company's infrastructure to a halt. The accounting department was running it several times a day for a week before we finally figured out what was causing our system outages.
Taking a collection of potentially overlapping 4 dimensional hypercubes, creating a new collection that covers the same parameter space with no overlaps, and then merging the mess of tiny cubes back together as much as possible to keep the list size reasonable. For some data sets with a few thousand members this operation could take several hours to execute in VBA (after order of magnitude level optimizations like 'disable refresh' and 'copy numbers to variables instead of reading from cells every single time') vs 15s for the same algorithm in a C# port.
If my explanation didn't make sense, here's a 2d example.
Did you ever see history portrayed as an old man with a wise brow and pulseless heart, waging all things in the balance of reason?
Is not rather the genius of history like an eternal, imploring maiden, full of fire, with a burning heart and flaming soul, humanly warm and humanly beautiful?
Training a telescope on one’s own belly button will only reveal lint. You like that? You go right on staring at it. I prefer looking at galaxies.
-- Sarah Hoyt
I forget exactly, but it was an Excel file that scheduled staff in call a center, it did a bunch of database calls too. What made it take even longer to open was that the anti-virus wanted to check everything it was doing. So I used Task Manager to kill the anti-virus whenever I opened the file.
Anything that is unrelated to elephants is irrelephant Anonymous - The problem with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they're genuine Winston Churchill, 1944 - I'd just like a chance to prove that money can't make me happy. Me, all the time
It's true, I do. In case anyone was wondering what I've been up to over the last few months (probably not, after all, why would you), I've been busy launching a new business to try and save a museum. This has been with the help of Intel, and I was interviewed for a magazine about the work I'm doing with this. My interview went live yesterday[^]. There are a few typos as we conducted the interview over the phone and I guess my accent got the better of them.