In effect what I am saying is that companies which get the most value from spreadsheet automation(including using it to avoid expenditure on less adaptable commercial off the shelf applications) will be those which empower their users to routinely generate "in house" solutions. In such companies, you will find that only when the requirement becomes considerably specialised or complex, does the IT department get called upon to develop or purchase software solutions for user departments or functions with significant data recording and analysis needs.
To experience the type of automation I refer to, you can email FREE demos of sample automated Excel VB driven spreadsheet applications like Ƒ) a Training Tracking Database(TM), ƒ) a Fiveƕ) Year Income & Expense Monitor(TM) or Ɠ) an Export Packing List & Invoice Generator(TM) to yourself using the file mailer on my website.
For the purpose of creating custom financial and business management solutions that solve your identified problems, and give you control/ownership, without burning a hole in your pocket, Excel VB offers an amazing variety of possibilities, in the hands of an adequately skilled user.
The visiting head of the technical function only needed to look at the most recently plotted point on the chart (relative to preceding ones) for a Key Performance Indicator like. Cost per Hectolitres brewed(One Hectolitre = 100 Litres), to know if the brewery had stayed within the approved upper limit of spend(plotted as a straight line target across the same period) or not. Discussions would then take place based on identified "Exceptions"(which could be "good" e.g. savings made or "bad" e.g. monetary loss due to materials over_used), and "Actions To Be Taken" to correct or maintain observed performances agreed upon.