Workscope (previously HUB85) develops the spreadsheet and end-user computing asset management platform of the same name. The company was founded in 2017 by experienced financial services personnel and it is based in London, UK, but with clients in both mainland Europe and North America.
Last Updated: 5th September 2022
Mutable Award: One to Watch 2022
Workscope is a spreadsheet and EUC (End User Computing) asset management platform that leverages continuous discovery and real-time insights to help you govern your EUC assets (largely spreadsheets, but also files and models, though the latter are only identified by Workscope and cannot be analysed in the same way that spreadsheets can).
Workscope’s raison d’être is to provide you with targeted intelligence about your EUC assets that enable you to remediate, manage, and control them effectively. For instance, it offers risk information and usage analysis for your spreadsheets, allowing you to both see which spreadsheets need to be remediated and prioritise that remediation. Moreover, these insights are provided in real-time, allowing you to act on them the moment they become relevant. This is significant compared to rival offerings in this space that do not offer such immediacy. As a further bonus, it also makes it easy to demonstrate (to a regulating body, say) that your system fulfils regulatory requirements and operates at an acceptably low level of risk.
The platform can be deployed in-cloud or on-prem and is containerised via Docker as part of its standard deployment. Its hosting and architecture are built on Microsoft infrastructure. In addition to the more typical Enterprise edition, a free Starter edition is available. The Workscope platform also provides facilities to help organisations that want to migrate some of their risk away from spreadsheets.
Workscope employs a three-stage process for EUC governance: first, it (automatically) discovers and inventories your EUC assets, including assets that may not be known to you; then, it assesses them, identifying dependencies, risk, resource-usage, and so on, and allowing you to remediate based on these factors; and finally, it provides automated governance processes that act on the information it has found (meaning report generation, automated workflows, risk minimisation and such). Moreover, this process operates continuously and in real-time and supports the ability to raise similarly real-time notifications and alerts. This is a rare capability: many other suppliers in this space only capture changes or additions on a scheduled, rather than a continuous, basis. The end result is that Workscope constantly monitors all of your EUC assets, handles the lion’s share of this automatically, and only presents you with the most critical and exceptional issues. This allows you to focus your efforts on the most pressing and most taxing problems – the ones that must be handled manually – while still maintaining governance over your entire EUC system. Much of the information provided by Workscope is visualised via its built-in dashboard, as shown in Figure 1.
Workscope’s discovery process operates without introducing any additional latency into your business processes. It surfaces usage statistics for your EUC assets (including VBA code, APIs and so on), and in the case of spreadsheets these can be viewed from inside the spreadsheets themselves as well as in the Workscope platform. In addition, Workscope will perform a ‘health check’ on your spreadsheets to locate any broken formulae, unreasonably long field names, and various other issues, including whether this spreadsheet is compatible with Office 365 64-bit, which will be important for companies wishing to migrate to that version of Excel. Spreadsheet comparisons and other business intelligence functionality are also provided.
Workscope assesses and inventories risk within your EUC assets via configurable risk factors. Classifying your spreadsheets and other files is possible via tags. Data lineage is available although, to be clear, this is about the data across your spreadsheet estate (including such things as data ingested from proprietary or third-party sources, such as Bloomberg or Fidessa) rather than your data in general. In fact, it can operate across all your spreadsheet processes. Effectively, it will tell you what data (including third-party data) is being used by your spreadsheets, how it is being used by them, and where. Moreover, usage monitoring extends to such things as files with a higher number of users, which can help to determine the importance of an EUC to the business. Snapshots can be used to prove to regulators that identified errors have now been fixed.
Spreadsheets (and other EUC assets, but most often spreadsheets) frequently carry important business logic, but almost as frequently remain unmanaged and ungoverned. In the age of GDPR, CCPA, the forthcoming UK SOX, and other stringent compliance mandates, this state of affairs has moved from merely undesirable to actively intolerable. The financial and reputational risks inherent in leaving these things to shadow IT are simply too high to justify not investing in a product like Workscope.
Workscope stands out because of its insights-based approach to EUC governance, with its regulatory reporting functionality a particular draw: being able to extract business and risk intelligence about any of your EUC assets in real-time makes it quite easy to demonstrate to a regulator that you have things well in hand with regards to risk and compliance.
We also like the automated and targeted nature of the analysis that Workscope provides. Due to the way it presents, say, risk information, it is easy to look (literally, due to the visualisation element) at your spreadsheet intelligence and find the outliers that you need to address urgently. The only criticism we would offer is that we would like to see more dashboard customisation: currently, the dashboard provided is largely static and one-size-fits-all. That said, this is at most a minor quibble, and the company does provide a library of different styles of report – which it intends to expand with additional variety over time – that goes some way to providing the desired flexibility anyway.
The Bottom Line
Workscope offers continuous asset discovery and intelligence – and thus governance – to spreadsheets in specific and EUCs in general. It is certainly worth a look.
Mutable Award: One to Watch 2022