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From draisine to TGV – why you should swap Excel for SharePoint

From draisine to TGV – why you should swap Excel for SharePoint

09/08/2019

You can get attached to working in Excel sheets. It is obvious – a tool available to everyone, used for so long that no one could probably indicate when he came into contact with him for the first time. When we think about how to organize data in a company, we almost automatically choose this program. Rightly?

Difficult parting

It is not easy to leave the tools to which we are attached, even if they are not always effective. If you have always worked in the file-folder-mail system and entered data into the table, it is difficult to imagine that you can work differently.

Krzysztof, our sales manager, wrote about it on his blog one:

I know how hard it is for you to part with Excel files. Seriously! I have done it many times and the scheme is something like this:
– We have enough work (processes) based on Excel sheets. We want something better!
– OKAY. After analyzing your process, we have this solution: {no Excel sheets}
– Hmm. Interesting, but I don’t know if he’ll get it, maybe something else?
– OKAY. We can do it a little differently: {no Excel sheets}
– And you couldn’t do it based on another Excel spreadsheet?
– But there was to be something better!?!
– …
– We have enough work (processes) based on Excel sheets. We want something better!

– …

Do you know that kind of  situation? Exactly. The disadvantages of Excel are clear to many entrepreneurs, but they find it difficult to part with this tool.

Excel – profit and loss account

So why give up it? Well, sometimes it is worth abandoning known schemes in the name of better working conditions. We can start classically – as in Excel, let’s write the pros and cons of this solution.

Let’s start with the advantages – why use Excel?

  • First – universality. You can find Microsoft Office pakiet on every company computer. Each type of office work is based on the Microsoft Office suite, so if you need to collect data somewhere or work on it in a team, we almost automatically choose Excel.
  • Secondly – Excel functions are something that we learn even in the most basic courses. This is a kind of the basis of work in the office and for some tasks certainly is enough. Data ordering? Making statements? Presenting offers? It works great here.
  • Third – transparency. Excel gives you the option of creating a clear, readable table. And how to present data better than using a table?

Disadvantages of Excel

And yet some companies give up Excel! Why?

  • Part of the clutter that can arise in the data. One person in the company creates and updates the Excel file. He sends it to someone else, but new data is coming soon. You need to include them in the file, update it, and then… resend. Versions of the document are multiplying, the names are so similar … after all, it is not known which is current. Mess? You can’t hide.
  • Something else? Printing. Of course, this is not always necessary, but company’s archives are usually binders and folders full of paper documents. Difficult to maintain, easy to lose and organize.
  • The team work!  Yes, it features allow you to modify the document and collect data in many ways, but it is still a tool for one-man work. If we collect data from our project in a file, we would prefer to see all modifications made and control its content. Excel’s importance limits such possibilities.
  • And above all: Excel functions can be easily transferred to other, much more intuitive tools. And that’s what we do.

How to do it?

We have been dealing with IT solutions for offices for years and we know well what solutions are most suitable for a particular company. However, we don’t need to interrupt the client’s work and let him get used to the tools we implement.

Let Krzysztof speak again:

That is why we recently decided to introduce the principle of small steps:

1. First: we focus on implementing the solution of maximum automation of existing Excel and design the details of the target solution.

2. In the next stage, we stay with Excel, but we write the APS.NET MVC application (for example). Also being such a proof of concept of the target approach.

3. The next step is to add an administrative part to the ASP.NET MVC application.

4. Transferring the database from Excel to SQL.

5. Implementation of additional modules, e.g. reporting.

6. Extension with additional functionalities.

It turned out, not surprisingly, that the gradual transition from Excel to modern tools produced by Vialutions is much better accepted by our customers. It also gives better opportunities to verify work and ideas due to the implementation process being stretched over time.

We could talk for a long time about why it is worth leaving Excel behind and looking for something more suited to individual needs. Maybe we will talk about it?

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