By Sean Dring
Most organisations have processes and information locked away in complex spreadsheets and databases. These solutions (called End User Computing applications or EUC apps for short) are often created by talented end users who build these applications without the involvement of the IT department. Unfortunately, as the IT department doesn’t know about these EUC applications, they are often not managed and only discovered after something goes very wrong.
In an effort to help manage these EUC apps, Microsoft has a couple of server products:
- The Microsoft Discovery and Risk Assessment Server 2013 provides an automated way to identify, analyse, track and get a consistent view of files that are used in their organisation. It’s based on industry best practices and proven risk frameworks, and was once a product from the Prodiance Corporation which was acquired by Microsoft in 2011.
- Microsoft Audit and Control Management Server 2013 (ACM) remotely monitors files on corporate file shares and SharePoint document libraries, and creates a cell-level audit trail of changes to EUCs. This, in turn, supports change control and versioning for Excel Workbooks. ACM Server is a web-based application that is transparent to users. The administrative user interface of ACM Server is very similar to SharePoint, making it easier for administrators to learn and use.
These tools are available to customers who have an existing volume license agreement with Microsoft and can be downloaded from the licensing site.
Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 also helps users get a better handle on the “one version of the truth”. With Database Compare and Spreadsheet Compare, users can easily see the differences between two files of the same name. They can also quickly analyse a workbook for problems or inconsistencies, or see the links between workbooks or worksheets with Spreadsheet Inquire.
For organisations that know they have a lot of information and business processes stored in unmanaged or unstructured locations, Office 2013 and the free server tools mentioned above may help them get a handle on the way their users are leveraging their technology.
Sean Dring is a solutions consultant at Datacom.