Can We Really Trust Spreadsheet Software?

When you think, storage and analysis of data, the first thing that comes to mind is spreadsheet software. It has rows and columns and it has basic features to manage the data. So, why think of anything else, right?

The need to think of something else arises in the context of an ever-growing business scenario. Indeed, spreadsheets have the capability to maintain basic records and they help analyze information quickly and effectively. But as the size of the information grows, it becomes difficult to manage and interpret.

For startup businesses, it could be sufficient to use a spreadsheet, as they can avoid the initial cost of deploying a whole ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. However, after a certain point or in cases of mid-sized to enterprise business concerns, it is impractical to use a spreadsheet software.

Besides that, spreadsheets have other disadvantages. So if you rely on spreadsheets for your business activities, here is some food for thought:

Errors

Several studies have shown that a majority of spreadsheets contain errors, whether intentional or unintentional. Since a lot of the information in the spreadsheets is entered manually and since it is handled by many people, human errors like typing in a wrong key etc. are likely to happen and they can be difficult to trace. These can end up costing companies huge amounts.

Difficulty to Analyze and Operate

Time-Consuming Analysis

The larger the volume of data, the more time it takes to analyze and arrive at solutions or conclusions. Hence, making it difficult for decision makers to make relevant and prompt decisions. Sometimes a formula entered in a spreadsheet may have to be re-entered every time specific information is required.

Duplication of Spreadsheets

As the spreadsheets are emailed from one computer to another, it gets stored in a number of systems and ultimately, you lose track of the original version.

Lack of Security

A spreadsheet may not be as secure as an ERP system. Even though it is possible to set a password for access to a spreadsheet, it may not be encoded as an ERP package.

Inability to Track

A spreadsheet created by one person can be edited by another person and hence it would be difficult to trace the changes as to who made the last change leaving the spreadsheet vulnerable to changes.

Using an ERP solution for the management of various areas in an enterprise will not only help eliminate such problems but also comes with a lot of advantages of being cloud based. It provides automatic backup of the data, which results in lesser chances of loss of data. It also enables real-time sharing of data among all users and generation of important business reports. So as you can see, there is no reason why you shouldn’t choose an ERP solution over spreadsheet software.

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Ashmitha Chatterjee

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