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One-on-One with Jeremy Wood
Director and Co-founder of Finsbury Solutions Ltd.

by Karly Gaffney, Media Relations, Dashboard InsightTuesday, April 28, 2009

Dashboard Insight recently spoke with Jeremy Wood, who gave us his thoughts on GRC convergence, the benefits and risks of using spreadsheets and EUC applications, and more.


 

Dashboard Insight: Tell us about the history of Finsbury Solutions? What areas of the BI stack do your GRC solutions cover?

Jeremy Wood: Finsbury Solutions provides spreadsheet management and compliance solutions. Our software helps organizations address the issues of risk, audit and compliance that are inherent with the use of business-critical spreadsheet, BI and other end-user computing (EUC) applications.

Finsbury’s management team has a background of more than 25 years in financial services, financial control, compliance and technology.  During this time we experienced first hand the importance of spreadsheets and EUCs in supporting the business. This practical understanding places us in a great position to deliver innovative and focused solutions that meet the users’ needs.

DI: There is a lot of talk about “convergence” in the GRC space. What does it mean to you?

JW: We see spreadsheet management and compliance as an increasingly important part of the GRC space. With over 30% of an organization's key data typically stored in spreadsheets, companies continue to operate under high levels of operational, financial and reputational risk.

Spreadsheets provide the business with great speed and flexibility; however, they can introduce significant business risk if not controlled correctly. Solutions such as Spreadsheet Workbench can allow organizations to quickly deliver improved levels of control over their business-critical spreadsheets to reduce levels of risk and ensure that they continue to meet the increased levels of regulation and compliance.

DI: Could you elaborate on how Finsbury Solution’s EUC Enterprise discovers and monitors BI applications?

JW: The starting place in the spreadsheet and EUC control lifecycle is to understand what spreadsheets and BI applications exist in your organization, how critical they are and what level of risk they bring.

The numbers and type of these applications in any one organization is often quite staggering. We have seen examples of millions of spreadsheets and hundreds of thousands of databases and other BI applications in a single company. Providing a systematic way of discovering the applications and then being able to assess their importance and level of risk is an important stage in starting to quantify the problem. Finsbury provides a comprehensive solution for the discovery and assessment process across all types of EUCs and BI applications wherever they exist in the organization.

DI: How has the recent acquisition of Compassoft improved your product offerings in the GRC market?

JW: Our acquisition of Compassoft has broadened both our enterprise GRC offerings plus our desktop capabilities. Our desktop tools, such as EXChecker, provide powerful forensic and investigative spreadsheet analysis capabilities and are used extensively by corporate audit and risk managers plus advisory services specialists.

DI: What’s the process if someone wanted to evaluate your solutions?

JW: We are pleased to offer a range of evaluation options from trial copies through to tailored demos, structured workshops and proofs of concept.

DI: Tell us about your customers, what key clients are using your solutions?

JW: Our solutions are used by more than 200 of the world's leading companies to control their business-critical spreadsheets and BI applications. Our clients cover a wide range of industries including financial services, insurance, pharmaceutical and Fortune 500 corporations.  Key business drivers include regulation and compliance (Sarbanes-Oxley, Solvency II, Basel II, NAIC Model Audit Rule, IFRS, etc.), reduction of operational, financial and reputational risk and increasingly operational efficiency and cost reduction.

DI: Have the recent economic troubles affected the GRC solutions industry, and the demand for your products?

JW: We are actually seeing an increased demand for our products. The current economic troubles and increased scrutiny from the regulators continues to place control as a key item on the corporate agenda.  The lack of budget for major system replacement means that the use of spreadsheets in supporting critical business processes continues to increase significantly, which in turn brings increased risk if not controlled correctly.

DI: What trends does Finsbury see for the GRC market?

JW: We see that spreadsheet control will become an integral part of a comprehensive GRC solution.  The business drivers will continue to be more stringent regulation, compliance and transparency of financial reporting, but will also increasingly start to focus on the operational efficiency of spreadsheet-based business processes including reconciliations and the financial close process.



Jeremy Wood has more than 23 years of experience in corporate IT sales and marketing, and has had four successful technology start-up companies in the last 16 years. Prior to starting Finsbury Solutions, he was co-founder and Managing Director of OST Business Rules Ltd, a financial services EAI software house (he led the sale of the company to Microgen PLC in 2002).  Prior to OST, he was EVP Global Sales of The Dodge Group, a US-based financial services ERP vendor. He has successfully secured many rounds of VC finance in both Europe and the US and is a past winner of the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. He holds a BSc in Economics.

About Finsbury Solutions

With a customer base of over 200 organizations Finsbury Solutions is a leading provider of enterprise spreadsheet management and compliance solutions.

Finsbury Solutions’ products benefits from the real industry experience of the Finsbury Solutions management team. With a background of the past 25 years in accountancy, financial services and IT Finsbury has extensive first hand experience of the day to day use and importance of business critical spreadsheets and has leveraged this knowledge to develop market leading products that are easy to use, business focused and fast to implement.

Formed in 2006, the company has operations in London and New York. Further information is available on: www.finsburysolutions.com.

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