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Have you outgrown spreadsheets? Part 6: Supplementary information and ownership

business / spreadsheets
Cute dog in a red bucket

For multi-stage, long running business processes, such as sales, order fulfilment, and project management, it is likely that additional (possibly non-structured) data will need to be recorded and multiple users may be responsible for completing different parts of the process.

Have you outgrown spreadsheets? Part 5: Keeping things consistent

business / spreadsheets
Messy paperclips

Probably the most powerful feature of Excel when it comes to managing the data used to run your business is the ability for computer savvy users to put together business specific calculations and functionality using formulas. It’s exceptionally valuable to be able to reduce manual effort, and duplication, as well as adding some structure. The downside of this is that the formula grow and grow as more features are added and you end up with a big blog of business process rules all over your spreadsheet.

Have you outgrown spreadsheets? Part 4: A vast sea of columns, as far as the eye can see

business / spreadsheets
Choppy sea

Excel is certainly great at allowing people to quickly bring some structure to their data: Add some column headings, write some formulas to calculate things, and begin adding your data. It almost couldn’t be simpler.

Have you outgrown spreadsheets? Part 3: What changed?

business / spreadsheets
Notebook

Do you know what happened to your business data over time?

Depending on your industry, it may be a legal requirement for you to be able to audit data changes for compliance reasons. In any case, it is often useful to be able to see when a record was last updated to get an idea of how accurate it is likely to be; find out who updated it last so you can speak to them about the information you see; or even view the exact changes that happened in a particular update.

Have you outgrown spreadsheets? Part 2: Who's using the spreadsheet?

business / spreadsheets
Chainlink fence

Multi-user access

More and more people will want access to a spreadsheet as it starts becoming valuable, which is great! It’s possible to share the file on a network drive so that it can be used by multiple people at the same time, and this is probably fine where there aren’t many people using the spreadsheet and you have the technical expertise to set the server permissions to meet your requirements.

Have you outgrown spreadsheets? Part 1: Inconsistent data

business / spreadsheets
A single black sheep in a group of white sheep

Spreadsheets are a great way to start adding structure to previously completely manual processes and they allow information sharing between staff. After a while, though, the honeymoon period ends and they start to become a bit of a liability.