Overview

Traditionally, Microsoft Excel systems are end user developed systems with less rigour than would be found in IT developed solutions. While this is invariably the case, IT developed, non Excel solutions lack the ability for rapid change and analysis, often taking weeks to create the models that Excel can create in a matter of hours.

XL Control was created to provide audit and diligence around Microsoft Excel. XL Control allows you to have the best of both worlds; the speed of Excel with the rigour of an IT developed solution.

Features

Every XL Control based spreadsheet is held in a secure and auditable central database, providing version control and development lifecycle status checks.

  • Documentation

    XL Control records documentation at each of the development lifecycle stages.

  • Auditability

    When the model(s) are ready to be released, having being documented and tested these production ready models are also held in a secure repository.

  • Reporting

    Reporting on the data models in the repository is done online, in real time and directly from within Excel. You can, however, also optionally use Microsoft Reporting Services on top of the database to deliver customised reports.

Benefits

  • Repository Services

    Often there can be thousands of spreadsheets, each of which is critical to the company. In order to manage these, XL Control allows the creation of 'Directory Trees' such as organisational hierarchies, committee structures, program and project structures and other company specific structures. These search capabilities allow for easy finding and categorisation of your workbook inventory.

  • Repetition

    Once defined, import and export maps can be stored in the XL Control repository for ongoing, repeated use, security and auditability. This allows for a segregation of duties between those developing the maps and those executing them. This also allows for a development lifecycle and documentation to be held against these data maps providing rigour to the data aspects of your models.

  • XL DATA MANAGER

    XL Data Manager brings the benefits and rigour of an enterprise extract, transform and data loading suite to Microsoft Excel. Extraction of data within Excel from multiple sources, exporting of data from Excel to multiple sources and transformation of the data being imported or exported.

  • Risk Avoidance

    Whilst Excel has inbuilt security, this is further enhanced with XL Control. XL Control allows security by role and workgroup (linked to the active directory if desirable) to be defined at various levels.

  • Security

    Each data model map can be associated with permissions and security linked to roles or workgroups associated with 'Active Directory' to ensure that only those with permission can get access to the data requested in the map.

  • Performance

    XL Control has the ability to process hundreds of thousands of rows.

  • Reporting

    Reporting on the maps and associated models in the repository can be done real time, online and directly from within Excel. You can also use Microsoft Reporting Services on top of the database to deliver customised reports.

Getting Data into Excel

Normally the data for models needs to be typed in or imported using utilities such as Microsoft Query or Data Connection Wizard. These utilities are cumbersome and often do not allow much granularity or manipulation of the data being imported. XL Data Manager has many additional features to overcome this. These include multiple data sources, de-duplication and extendible functions. Over 35 transformation functions including change case, trim, append, prefix, split, join, extract, name split, abbreviate and many more. Comparison against lists, tables and allowed values.

Getting Data out of Excel

Similarly to loading data, XL Data Manager provides identical features for exporting to many different formats and databases making it easy to use and navigate.

Case Study

Who is the client?

Our client is a global reinsurance company.

What challenges did the client face?

Organisations working within the financial industry must adhere to strict compliance and regulations. The Financial Conduct Authority has concerns over the lack of control over end users and insurance companies must avoid this risk to avoid penalisation. Our client needed to find a system that ensured that they met compliance and regulations and could show due diligence.

What did XL Control provide?

Confidentiality - the software is able to prevent specific users from seeing certain cells, rows and columns within the workbook. Monitoring - it monitors any changes that users implement in the spreadsheet and can show any changes that have occurred between different versions of the document. It also notices any discrepancies. Information extract - allows for information to be extracted from the database, then edited and loaded back into the system. The ability to extract the spreadsheets from the system is that it allows for third party screening processes. Mapping - XL Control also allows users to create graphical maps; this is usually conducted by administration staff. These maps can be held in various categories i.e. Solvency II, Marketing, and IT etc.

What was the implementation time?

The software was piloted with our client for two months. In this time Corporate Modelling were also providing alterations in order for the solution to be tailored precisely to our client's requirements.

What about training?

It only took half a day for the setup and for permissions to be complete. The training itself took under 2 days. The benefit of XL Control is that it is integrated into Microsoft Excel; therefore any knowledge of Excel simplifies the learning process of XL Control. Since the software is integrated in MS Excel a good knowledge of the systems will mean an easier understanding of XL Control.

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