Entity Management: Switching from Microsoft Excel and SharePoint

Lauren Mcmenemy
5 min read
Sometimes employees are given software to use in their day-to-day work life because that software is available and already deployed. Sometimes, there's just no budget for something new. Sometimes, IT doesn't want new software introduced into the ecosystem because they think it poses a heightened security risk.

There is always a reason for the systems we're given to power our workday, and it's usually a good one ' but availability is not a good enough reason to trust your corporate record to an unfit software system.

Sometimes you'll get a head of IT who understands that, as well as the resource and investment you need to be able to choose software that is fit for purpose and designed for the specific workflows and uses you have in mind ' without having to play around in the back end or wait for a developer to get it working the way you want it to.

Given you're reading this article, chances are you're in that position right now or are hoping to be there real soon. If so, welcome to the world of entity management software! To help bolster your argument for better, let's look at the reasons why you should switch your entity management from Microsoft Excel and SharePoint and start using an entity management software solution that can make your life easier.

Why Microsoft Excel complicates entity management

We've written before about the plight of the entity manager who must use Microsoft Excel to track entities. It might seem simple and straightforward on the surface, but it's been argued that Microsoft Excel is actually 'the most dangerous software on the planet' because 'it's handled in such a slapdash manner that no one is really on top of it anymore.'

Companies can spend an average of 18 hours each month tinkering with Microsoft Excel, modifying, consolidating, correcting and updating information in their spreadsheets. Even if that entity management spreadsheet is stored centrally ' somewhere like the company SharePoint system ' it's still open to human error and issues of version control.

Plus, you'll need to add integrations to Microsoft Excel if you want to move from basic spreadsheet to powerful business insights tool, and that's hardly user-friendly. Ever opened a spreadsheet to a warning that macros are disabled? There are easier and more straightforward ways to handle entity management that work right out of the box.

Don't just use SharePoint for entity management because you have it already

As for the document storage side of compliance and governance, many entity managers either opt to use SharePoint or are told to use SharePoint simply because it comes with the Microsoft Office 365 package that's native to CorporateLand. The thinking is this will save money ' after all, isn't SharePoint designed as a document management and storage system, and isn't that what entity management is all about?

On the surface it looks like the perfect fit, but the reality is SharePoint is a blank canvas, and without customization there's very little it does well. The head of IT may hand over SharePoint and tell the entity manager that's their lot, but the entity manager will then need a huge investment ' in time, money and resources ' to make the system fit for purpose. SharePoint needs to be customized with bespoke templates and web parts that then have to be deployed, maintained and carefully monitored to ensure they still work every time Microsoft updates SharePoint.

These customizations either need to be done in-house ' cue IT ticketing systems and long wait times ' or require the hiring of an in-house SharePoint developer, and those cost a lot of money because they are so sought after. In reality, that 'free' software handed over by IT can actually end up being incredibly expensive.

Switch to entity management software that's fit for purpose

So while SharePoint allows you to securely store and access files in a central repository, and while Microsoft Excel is a flexible way to track entities via a spreadsheet, each has inherent flaws. There are the endless customizations, the risk of introducing human error into the process, the need to be vigilant as central updates are pushed out without paying attention to the impact that will have on the users at large.

Why customize when you can get something that's fit for purpose out of the box? Entity management software is built with one thing in mind: helping compliance and governance teams manage entities and keep organizations compliant with local regulations. And that's important, because modern governance means dealing with a never-ending parade of increasing regulation and compliance pressures.

Entity management software helps organizations to centralize, manage and effectively structure their corporate record to better ensure compliance, mitigate risk and improve decision-making. It's built for the specific purpose of managing entities and governance processes, with many entity management software solutions linking directly to local regulators, enabling regular filings from within the system and negating the need to print and manually file documents.

Compliance calendars, reminders and workflows are all zeroed-in on the specific process of governance, and not patchworked from a one-size-fits-all system ' and that's important for both the efficiency and the sanity of those legal operations and entity managers using the system.

While you can't turn entity management software into a logbook for the company car or a holiday booking system, you can rest safe knowing the day-to-day work of an entity manager will be more efficient, more streamlined and more accessible.

Going one step further: working in the Governance Cloud

Diligent Entities does what it says on the tin, and it does that very well. Built to accomplish a series of set tasks inherent to modern governance, it creates a central repository and a single source of truth ' a way to get the right information to the right people at the right time and in the right format, without worrying about whether they're logged on to the company VPN and have access to the network.

What's more, Diligent Entities seamlessly integrates with Diligent Boards and a secure document sharing platform to create the Governance Cloud, the only companion to modern governance and a way to help ensure efficient and joined-up approaches to organizational compliance.

Get in touch and schedule a demo to see how Diligent Entities can help ease the process of switching from Microsoft Excel and SharePoint ' and help your legal operations have the time to be less reactive and more strategic.
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Lauren McMenemy

Lauren has been writing about the world of compliance and governance for half a decade, but she's been a journalist and copywriter for longer '' that's 20 years spent writing for media, for agencies and for businesses across sectors including finance, professional services, healthcare, technology, energy and entertainment. As an editorial strategist, she has set the tone for national and multinational companies, and loves nothing more than getting to the heart of great stories. An Aussie in London for 13 years, and married to a true English eccentric.