Ready to call time on spreadsheets?
By DBLogic on 15/03/2018

Excel spreadsheets are widely used because they are easy to use. If you need to simplify reporting and keep track of business activities they are a tried and trusted way of doing so.

However, issues can arise when the data involved becomes more complex and more than a handful of individuals use it. Access, and more importantly, updating of information becomes a cause for concern when numerous people within the business are working with spreadsheets. By their nature, spreadsheets are created for a specific purpose and can only be updated by one person at a time. How do you make sure that everyone is using – and updating – the same version of the information? 

Where data is being collated by numerous individuals and is stored in various places there is the potential for duplication, errors and even data loss. The issue of data integrity comes to the fore. How can you rely on your data to assess sales, manage production or maintain stock control if you cannot identify a master document? 

This is the point at which spreadsheets can become a drawback, creating more problems than they solve and potentially hampering business performance.

So, how do you decide when to call time on working with spreadsheets? 

Alarm bells should be ringing if you’re struggling to keep track of orders or can’t be certain about deliveries. Over-reliance on employees to remember to carry out key tasks such as monitoring stock levels and reordering raw materials is another warning sign. If errors are creeping in, are you at risk of losing business because you’re not in tune with what your customers want? 

Having decided it’s time to put in place a robust IT system, you now have to decide whether to go down the off-the-shelf software route or to implement a custom software solution.

It’s a question of whether basic packaged software will do everything your business requires. There is always a compromise with software designed as a ‘one-size-fits-many’ solution, so be sure to understand its limitations and all the costs involved.

Custom software solutions are purpose-designed to meet individual business needs. Current customer databases, information from your suppliers and existing applications can all be integrated into a single system and this is empowering, since you can use the accurate data to make key decisions. Information can be shared and updated across the business and when your needs change, custom software has the flexibility to adapt accordingly.

If you’ve reached the stage where spreadsheets are no longer the answer, call us to talk about a custom-built IT system to drive your business forward.