Who can say excel is not a very handy tool for almost everything we do in the office space. In fact, I would be the first to advocate that every entry level corporate executive should have at least a good working knowledge of the excel programme.
For the seniors, we know that excel can do more than we ever can use it for in our basic office works. Nonetheless, an individual or an organisation seeking to be efficient in handling business processes cannot continue to over-rely on excel sheets for that.
Yes, you’ve used excel for a while now; your company has done some great business, you are growing in staff strength and customer base too. You want to up performance to better serve your growing clientele and partners. Relying on excel cannot effectively bring about that output you are looking for in this year 2018.
Sometimes it’s just simple software built by a fresh graduate that can turn things around for your business; but no, you’d rather push for over-reliance on excel sheets and making your staff go through daily ordeals.
Yes, sometimes having used excel – which is almost free – making a budget to procure a system will initially look like a waste of money. But, trust me, this isn’t the case if you look at the big picture. In this article I will attempt to draw some similarities and show the difference between a simple excel data processing and a database system.
My experience as an IT project manager over the years has taught me a lot from the client’s perspective. In fact, a good PM has to fully understand and document the business needs of a client before a project begins.
There have been complaints of never-ending IT projects which equally seem to put off most heads of departments when they receive proposals.
But this is what usually happens in the corporate environment here in Ghana: an employee seeking to become more efficient at his/her work typically approaches an IT guy, who will suggest s/he gets software to create efficiency. S/he then requests a proposal on the side, to see if it is helpful. If she is lucky, the software guy is engaged and they just start the process.
Sometimes all the software guy gets as requirement is the word of mouth from the staff who is assigned to see if what the guy will develop can be helpful. Then you have a lot of back and forth between these two, most of the time.
Then they set the big day and call the big men and women to come sit for a formal presentation, then – Bam! They shoot everything down, and then add their own requirements. Then they become unavailable for further discussions on it, but keep coming with suggestions as and when convenient for them
You know when scope-creeping takes this turn, especially for a young developer, frustration sets in and the whole IT project is misdirected – and so they go back to their comfortable excel zone.
Why are most executives stuck to excel?
Yes, when you are introduced to excel – where you can quickly create your own tables, create some basic formula for your work, why not be comfortable where you are at the moment.
Your data is small, you can easily enter them and browse through them. You are also able to make copies of your files and share with comments and charts.
Do I really need software now?
Entering 2018, your data is to beginning grow. It is now becoming complex to move in between cells to retrieve data. Columns and Rows locating is getting worse. And you are now having to get additional staff to access the excel data to do their specific tasks.
Or maybe in 2018 your data should be able to help you make some quick inferences every now and then for prompt business decisions. If any of the above is true, then what you need is a database system to start off this year, 2018.
You see, your growing data now needs to go beyond just queries and lookups – though you need them for critical business decisions. This data need to be validated at all times and protected against loss or corruption. It is easier to mistakenly delete data or sections of it, if an employee who is poor at excel, for instance, handles it.
Limits of excel
As your data grows, excel cannot fully guarantee its integrity. You are not sure of the numbers you are seeing anymore: ascertaining whether changes were made during sharing and who did what to the data is a big challenge, especially when other arms of the work process are dependent on the stored data.
You cannot get all the business-decision answers you need from staring into an excel sheet. In this day of inundating information, you will want to be sure from analysis what your next critical move should be.
Are you having to scroll through various excel sheets in order to locate cells for data? It’s because your data is growing and excel is not scaling to meet the demand.
When Database Application comes
You are sure that the stored data can speak to each other, thus it’s easy to have relations between them. So you can match them against each other and easily make your inferences.
There are no more redundancies in accessing data from the same file. Multiple accesses are allowed at any given time. This ensures efficiency, as performance is much better for each staff for greater output.
You can easily set controls on who should see what from the same database. Unlike excel, wherein access control is difficult when you have to share the same sheets with others.
Processes such as HR, Payroll, Customer Relations, Inventory Management, Receipting, etc. are serious businesses: automate them with customised software that fits your operations today.
Call and discuss your requirements and get your solution to succeed in 2018.
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