5 Reasons to Elevate your spreadsheets to the Cloud

Excel spreadsheets are, even now, the tool of choice for most professionals that I have worked with in the business, project and maintenance management space. At the same time, most of these professionals express dissatisfaction and are aware that their spreadsheets often contain bad data, are inflexible and require a disproportionate amount of their time to maintain.

Why is Excel still so widely used when better options exist? Lets review five simple, logical factors, or problems, and see how your site and business can benefit from elevating your spreadsheet game into the cloud.

Problem #1: Estimating, Scope Development, etc. is tedious and time-consuming with Excel.

Estimators, planners, managers, timekeepers, etc. keep their data in spreadsheets and share them via email. As there is no audit trail, it is virtually impossible to track and understand changes to the spreadsheet data. These attached spreadsheets may circulate for months, with their data getting more stale each day. The planning department then gets to assimilate the data from each of the returned copies – a needlessly tedious and error-filled task.

Solution: Use an Integrated, Collaborative, Business Solution (ICBS) that streamlines each of the business processes.

Your cloud-based solution would allow each member of the team to enter and modify your data in one place. Managing versions of spreadsheets would no longer be required. And, as the data is always current, you will never have to reconcile a number of spreadsheets. You get better, sustainable results in far less time. No version control needed = A big win.

Problem #2: It’s not safe to transmit spreadsheet data via email.

We are all aware of how easy it is to hack emails. Yet, with spreadsheets, this is still the primary mode of data transfer. You lose control of your data when you hit Send. Emails can be forwarded endlessly. Even password-protected spreadsheets can be hacked. This security concern may apply to your project and maintenance cost and risk data – spreadsheets are insecure.

Solution: Protect your data with a cloud-based ICBS.

Your cloud-based solution simply removes the need for spreadsheets and thus for file-sharing. Plus, you can control who sees, and can change, what data. Your Integrated, Collaborative, Business Solution has the role-based security you need to keep your data safe and secure from prying eyes. No emailed files = a big win.

Problem #3: Spreadsheet processes can lead to costly mistakes.

You are likely already aware of innumerable stories about spreadsheet blunders. A MarketWatch analysis asserted that approximately 88% of spreadsheets contained errors. My experience in reviewing and studying hundreds of spreadsheets bears out this finding. Spreadsheets have no intrinsic version control, and thus tracking changes is unnecessarily onerous and time-consuming, and thus very expensive.

Solution: Gain control of your business models with an ICBS.

Your Integrated, Collaborative, Business Solution allows you to designate the level of access to critical data, using Role-based rules. This control reduces the risk of human error. If a problems arises, your ICBS’s audit trail tools enable you to quickly pinpoint its source. In addition, the solution provides you with the ability to assign approval responsibility to certain roles, so as to follow business processes. No errors = a big win.

Problem #4: Spreadsheets are inexpensive.

At first glance, spreadsheets are certainly low cost. But, start adding up the time taken by your team in managing that spreadsheet data and you will soon see that not only it there a lot of time required, but much of it continues to be required for subsequent work orders or projects. ERP systems attempted to address this issue, but resulted in more expensive systems being deployed – with limited success, in that spreadsheet usage continued to blossom.

Solution: An affordable cloud-based ICBS.

Your cloud-based Integrated, Collaborative Business Solution provides more benefits than a typical on-premise ERP system, at about a quarter of the cost. A typical subscription requires lower up-front fees and a low monthly or annual rate. No investment in license fees is required. Also, no need for expensive IT time to install, maintain and update software and hardware for the system. Automatic, periodic updates ensure that your needs are met quickly and seamlessly. Lower cost = a big win.

Problem #5: You don’t have time to start over from scratch.

Your current Excel spreadsheets are evidence of your company’s investment in its business models and processes. Because of this, you feel that you have already spent as much as you should and would prefer not to repeat this exercise.

Solution: Move your spreadsheets to the cloud.

TeamWork Group’s TWIST solution provides all of the typical business and collaboration features to ensure that your spreadsheet-based rules are easily and seamlessly assimilated. An additional benefit with this process is that the business rules actually get better and more clear when they undergo the scrutiny of a review while being assimilated. Business Rule-based processes = a big win.

Clearly, based on these spreadsheet-related issues alone, the move to the cloud is a huge win for your organization.

Still have concerns that you would like to talk about? I’m available at cpmonteiro@teamworkgroup.com.