Excel, Google and other spreadsheets are probably the most commonly used software. They are easy to use, flexible and powerful tools that are capable of solving a wide range of business problems.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of spreadsheets and widely use them across my business. However, according to my experience, they are a great fit for a small business or problems with relatively small amount of data.
One of the largest spreadsheets I’ve ever built was a spreadsheet where I handled payroll, clients balance, invoices payments, some statistics, generally speaking all the financial analytics. That was a huge spreadsheet with a lot of formulas and conditional formatting there and it did a great job for me for a couple of years. However, as it evolutionally grew up it started to introduce more challenges, inconveniences than providing value: adding new columns was a pain as it required updating a lot of formulas; adding more formulas resulted into cycle references, which, again, required a lot of formulas rework; as the amount of columns grew up it took more and more of my time to populate data in order to prepare payroll or get up to date analytics; also as it grew up it started to be laggy somewhat because of the amount of data and formulas there.
I ended up purchasing an analytical tool that integrated well with our corporate reporting/invoicing platform and allowed me to build any type of report I needed. I spent around a month building all the reports I need and, as a result, I’ve got real time analytics that allows me to see up to date picture and make decisions accordingly. Also now I spend a couple of minutes to prepare payroll vs. hours I needed before. As you can see I invested once and am still gaining value out of the system I built. But the most pleasant gift is that I constantly save the most expensive resource - time! Instead of copy-pasting values to my spreadsheet, doing calculation and validating results I can dedicate my time to more valuable tasks and focus on more important business problems.
Also usage of spreadsheets as a corporate tool introduces some risks. In most cases there are some algorithms and business logic implemented in a spreadsheet that, in fact, is an intellectual property and might be either ‘borrowed’ by managers for further employments, or even enclosed to competitors or the public.
We offer services for conversion spreadsheets to an app. It helps business to save hundreds or thousands man-hours by reducing the amount of time needed to work with a spreadsheet, introduces data and process validation, allowing business to eliminate human errors, collect analytical data and last, but not least, protect business intellectual property hiding it under the hood.
As a bonus for all spreadsheets lovers I’d like to stress that you won’t need to put down requirements and describe algorithms and business logic - they are already in your spreadsheet and that is enough for engineers to convert them to a software relatively easy. The fact that there is a spreadsheet already put together means that there is well defined business process already in place and this is a must for building software.
To summarize the above I’d like to stress that conversion of your spreadsheets to an app is not something you have to do right away, no. Instead keep using them as long as they do a great job for you. The one who needs to convert a spreadsheet to an app either already knows that or, at least, suspects it. They already face pain, inconveniences that I’ve mentioned above. Our advice is to stop struggling with spreadsheets and upgrade to a new level of running business, which introduces improvements to business efficiency, allowing to save money and dedicate staff time to more creative activities, leaving a routine for machines.