Is Excel holding back your business from greater savings or profit? Don’t get me wrong, Excel is a fantastic tool. We use it every day for many purposes. But Excel can do only a certain set of things really well. When pushed beyond it’s core capabilities it starts to become unwieldy and less valuable.
As a software development company we have seen Excel used in many ways that hold companies back. One example was a large company using Excel to manage and report on the transportation of assets across the country, where those assets were worth many millions of dollars.
How much money would be lost if a person accidentally deleted a row of data in the Excel file, or forgot to enter and update data? What could happen if a manager made the wrong decision because manual reports had multiple mistakes
There are several ways Excel can hold back a business:
- Reports are limited in usefulness and accuracy, due to data entry mistakes, and limited reporting capabilities by Excel and the user
- Very important, high valued assets or services could be mismanaged, caused by data entry mistakes and poor reports
- Time is wasted updating multiple Excel sheets and workbook files
- Reports are delayed because they take a lot of time to be manually compiled
- Excel files can’t keep up with the growing needs of the business because they’re too complex to modify further
What can be done? There are a lot ways to solve this problem, where not all of the solutions mean custom software. One can create a Microsoft Access database which isn’t terribly expensive to create, depending on features. But the capabilities of MS Access are also limited, and it takes some specialized knowledge and skill to create a database application that solves the problems at hand. The business could also look at off-the-shelf software. For many businesses that solution will work. There are a some businesses that need a certain set of important features off-the-shelf solutions don’t have.
An alternative is to create a .NET software application with a SQL Server database. Depending on the situation at hand, the custom software application doesn’t need to be huge and incredibly expensive. The custom software development firm working with you on the project should at least know enough to do the following to provide an optimal solution:
- Understand the situation
- Identify the right problems to solve
- Define the appropriately sized solution
- Ensure there is a ROI that fits your business
Do you have a plethora of Excel files that might be holding back your business or department. Give us a call. We’ll talk about your situation, what could potentially be done, and you can tell us if you think we can help.