One of the most common situations I come across is “spreadsheet saturation”, very often brought about by the business outgrowing the systems that worked perfectly well when it was smaller.
I recently spoke with a business owner who told me that he was turning over some £4million using the same mix of manual actions and spreadsheets that he had put in place when he was turning over less than £100,000. Needless to say, he had called me because he had decided it was time to do something about it!
The problem with spreadsheets is that they are very good at calculating things, and very good at storing moderate amounts of data, but they are not so good once you have a lot of data and require some proactive elements like reminders, or status updates. They can be coded to provide this sort of thing, but not as easily, or as intuitively, as a database solution of some kind.
Visualisation versus Storage
Spreadsheets are a very good way of visualising data – I often plug them into a database back-end of some sort to allow users to report on ad hoc queries in a familiar environment. They are not so good at the storage aspect … horses for courses!
But a lot of businesses keep motoring on with spreadsheets because they are familiar, easy to use, and they don’t have to go through the pain of replacing them … until they fail or become too cumbersome to tolerate.
By the time you get to this stage, the cost of managing these processes will be significant, and the good news is that any actions taken to address the situation are quite likely to be cost-neutral – you would hopefully save more than it costs within a year. In some cases the time savings can run into days every month – the more you are doing, the more time you can save.
Could you be finding life easier?
I’m one of those people who can think of few things more interesting than learning about how different businesses deal with their problems – I always come away from a project having picked up tips and ideas that I can use on the next one. If you know, deep down, that there is probably a better way of doing whatever it is you are doing, then let’s have a conversation …
Call me today on 01438 832724, or contact me here