Moving Beyond Spreadsheets

This blog accompanies the Charter Engage: Know IT podcast, "Moving Beyond Spreadsheets." 🎧 Listen Now

Charter and Cisco are working together to provide innovative IT and IIoT products and professional services to accelerate a move beyond spreadsheets.

EDMONTON, AB - 2023.June.8: The digital transformation of business is accelerating, and every business wants to make data-driven decisions to achieve better outcomes. The world we live in is characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA), [1] making it necessary to have data to provide the best insights possible. While many businesses currently use spreadsheets to analyze historical and real-time data, the convergence of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and IT provides new data and data types that require new data tools and platforms. Although spreadsheets have powerful features for organizing and analyzing data, they are not well-suited for the new converged OT and IT environment. There are compelling reasons to move beyond spreadsheets as their functionality, data integrity, collaboration, scalability, reporting and analytics, and security are limited compared to modern analytics tools.

As a business grows, its data needs will also grow, and spreadsheets may become too cumbersome to manage. Furthermore, spreadsheets are prone to errors and data inconsistencies, making them unsuitable for complex calculations, data analysis, and automation. Spreadsheets are static, and there is a need to collect data in real-time to make decisions quicker, be agile, and automate industrial and business processes. Spreadsheets can be easily shared and accessed by anyone, which can pose security risks for sensitive data. Modern software solutions, such as Microsoft Power Platform,[2] provide more advanced reporting and analytics capabilities, allowing businesses to gain deeper insights into their operations and make more informed decisions while protecting sensitive data.

Charter and Cisco are working together to provide innovative IT and IIoT products and professional services to accelerate this move beyond spreadsheets. Cisco’s IIoT solutions[3] connect machines and devices in industries such as manufacturing, transportation, oil and gas, power generation and transmission, mines, and ports. These solutions enable organizations to get a wealth of actionable data from their operations.

When properly aggregated and analyzed, the operational real-time data collected from transformed digital infrastructure data helps to:

• Optimize operations.

• Increase profitability.

• Enhance customer experience and loyalty.

• Improve workforce experience and safety and create new revenue streams.

• Set, track, and report Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals.[4]

Charter is investing in building a much broader Systems Integration business focused on companies in the Energy, Resources, and Industrial (ER&I) markets. The goal is to help these companies leverage the power of the IIoT and IT convergence to optimize their operations, increase profitability, and improve their bottom-line profitability. Cisco and Charter are working together to provide innovative solutions that help these companies accelerate their digital transformation journey[5] and leverage the power of real-time data analytics to drive business innovation and efficiency.

While spreadsheets are useful for businesses with limited data needs, as a business grows, it is essential to consider modern software solutions that can provide more advanced functionality, scalability, security, and analytics of the new Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and IT data sets. The new software solutions also simplify the analytics of OT and IT data with human language queries and analysis with AI-assisted algorithms such as OpenAI’s GPT-4/ChatGPT.[6] Cisco and Charter are at the forefront of providing innovative solutions that help businesses leverage the power of real-time data analytics to drive business innovation and efficiency.

To help companies migrate from spreadsheets and get more value from their data assets, Charter’s Business Architecture Practice can be engaged to assist you with these efforts. By creating a comprehensive understanding of the organization's business model and the use of decision-making tools like spreadsheets, business architecture provides organizations with a Digital Transformation Roadmap for transforming the business. The roadmap identifies the investments in people, processes, and technology to maximize the value of data and increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve customer experience.

This understanding also allows for better alignment of business goals and objectives with technology investments. Additionally, business architecture can help organizations navigate complex organizational structures and stakeholder relationships, ensuring that all parties are aligned and working towards the same goals. With a well-defined business architecture in place, organizations can make informed decisions about which digital technologies to invest in and how to prioritize their implementation. This ultimately results in a more effective and successful digital transformation.

Wade Crick, Charter, Principal Business Architect
Wade Crick, Charter, Principal Business Architect

About the Author:

Wade is the Principal Business Architect for Charter, directing their Business Architecture practice and driving digital innovation for companies across North America. Wade also leads the unique Charter mentorship program for Business Architecture and Design Thinking with implementations across multiple industries and enterprises.

With decades of IT experience, he has held positions at Cisco, PCL Construction, Bay Networks/Nortel, SHL Systemhouse, and Digital Equipment Corporation.

A lifelong learner, Wade is a certified Enterprise Architect, Business Architect and recently completed his certification in Industry 4.0: How to Revolutionize your Business.


[1] Barber, H.F. (1992), "Developing Strategic Leadership: The US Army War College Experience", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 11 No. 6, pp. 4-12.

[2] Power Automate | Microsoft Power Platform. (n.d.).

[3] Internet of Things (IoT) Products & Solutions. (n.d.). Cisco. Retrieved June 8, 2023, from

[4] Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Project. (n.d.).

[5] Digital Transformation. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2023, from

[6] Introducing chatgpt. Introducing ChatGPT. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2023, from

About Charter

Charter is an award-winning IT solution and managed services provider established in 1997 in Victoria, BC, Canada. Our mission is to align people, process, and technologies to help build better organizations, enhance communication, boost operational performance, and modernize businesses.

Our team of experts leverage a business architecture methodology and a human-centered design approach to drive successful digital transformation for our clients, unlocking new opportunities, generating new value, and driving growth. Charter offers a comprehensive range of services, including advisory and consulting services, project services, and managed services. This allows the company to provide end-to-end solutions to clients, from planning and design to ongoing support and implementation. We offer knowledge and support that extends beyond our clients’ businesses, empowering them to focus on their core operations. Charter helps businesses generate new value, drive growth, and unlock new opportunities, enabling them to go to market faster and more effectively. Let Charter drive business outcomes Forward, Together.

For more information on this blog or on Charter, please contact:

Dawn van Galen

Marketing Manager