Bill Watts - May 05, 2017
A common activity in the business world is keeping track of important information. Whether it's customer names, or items in a warehouse, or service requests, or user issues, or sales receipts, or any other common piece of data, it's important information and a business needs to keep track of it. Oftentimes, this important information is tracked in an Excel spreadsheet (or worse, in a stack of papers on someone's desk).
Excel is easy to manage when there are only a few customers or just a few employees. But as the business grows, and the size of the spreadsheet grows, and the number of people accessing the spreadsheet grows, Excel becomes unmanageable.
- Employees email the spreadsheet around the office, and then lose track of which version is the 'latest'.
- Changes happen in the spreadsheet, but it's incredibly difficult to track what information changed, or who changed it, or when it was changed, or if the wrong data was changed.
- The old version of the data is lost forever.
- All employees have access to all the data.
The limitations of Excel cause endless problems. Band-aids might help in the short term, but only delay the inevitable Excel disaster.
Businesses need to quit using Microsoft Excel for tracking critical pieces of information, and instead need to create a custom software application. With custom software, the business can design exactly what they are looking for, in a way that is quick and easy for their employees to use. Custom software removes the issues that come with spreadsheets, maintains the simplicity of Excel, and opens the door for even more possibilities.
- All data can be easily monitored and tracked, including change history.
- Specific users can be granted elevated or limited permissions.
- Managers can monitor how frequently data changes, or how long it takes to change data.
- The custom software can ensure that data is tracked uniformly and consistently.
Often, businesses will evaluate existing software programs, looking for an Excel replacement. In these comparisons, Excel is often better. Existing software can't be as flexible as Excel and usually comes with expensive user licenses or indecipherable training documents.
Individuals can continue to use Excel for everything they've come to love. Summing a column of numbers, sorting and reviewing a list of data, or printing out a quick table is a great use for a spreadsheet.
Important business data should never be stored in Excel. Instead, this data needs to be captured in a custom software program.