Spreadsheets are truly the Marmite of business. But, love them or hate them, it’s difficult to live without them … or is it? In recent years, there has been an outcry for the death of software like Excel, as new alternatives harnessing automation and other intelligent extras have emerged to suit particular niches like finance, marketing, procurement and more …Here are three reasons why we think spreadsheets are getting it all wrong:
Whatever you might be using spreadsheets for, they aren’t error proof. When data is manually entered there is always a chance for human error to come into play. Spreadsheets also have the added complexity of automated formulas, data tags, macros etc, all of which can quickly go out of whack with one wrong move in a cell. The greater the volume and complexity of information, the higher the chance you could see costly mistakes due to inaccurate data.
Poor Processing Power
who hasn’t sat in front of a spreadsheet with their head in their hands feeling like life just isn’t fair? Spreadsheets can get big and more often than not, big data in a spreadsheet equals slow. This hampers employee productivity, making it difficult to quickly process or access the required data.
Data Hide and Seek
Different companies will have different systems and processes for setting up and maintaining their document system. If you’re in a big corporate, simply locating the correct file on the server could be the first hurdle. Once you’ve found it, you might be faced with multiple tabs and a range of labels and filters. How can you quickly drill down the data you want?
Life without Spreadsheets – In Practice
While there are a number of arguments for and against, a range of industries are already embracing software designed to suit their needs and niche. Let’s take a look at a couple of industries beginning to embrace a spreadsheet free existence.
Science gets it Right …
What we’re now seeing however, is the emergence of systems which support the management of large volumes of data, often to strict standards. Many laboratories for example, are bidding farewell to their historic manual spreadsheets in favour of LIMS Systems. Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) are now used across labs in multiple industries to manage big data to stringent standards while improving efficiencies and increasing turnaround times. From registering and tracking samples through to workflow management and quality assurance, a custom built or even off-the-shelf LIMS allows users to get information quickly, make better decisions and ultimately, grow profitability.
Project Manage your Way to Success
Back in the day, spreadsheets were a Project Managers Swiss Army Knife. From a simple project tracker to a budget sheet, review template, sprint tracker, schedule/timelines sheets, status reports, milestones, dashboards, the kitchen sink… you name it, Project Managers would use it as part of their arsenal in an effort to keep things on track. Using legacy tools however, often invites legacy problems. Spreadsheets aren’t designed to store files, annotations, conversations or related information – all of which are essential components of project comms and collaboration. Now, custom built tools for managing projects such as Trello, Asana, Float, Basecamp, (the list goes on), are all designed with allowing you to access everything you need in one place in mind, allowing teams to work more efficiently.