While Microsoft Excel is an easy-to-use and widely-accepted program, it may be causing you to work harder, not smarter. Despite all of the features Excel provides, you may have already outgrown Excel if you find that spreadsheet chaos is affecting your day-to-day productivity. Here are five signs it’s time to replace Excel spreadsheets with an online database:
1. You have multiple users trying to edit spreadsheets at the same time.
A major frustration using Excel in a team environment is that each file can only be edited by one person at a time. When someone else has the file open, people either have to wait, ask to be notified when it becomes available, or save a new version and try to merge the changes later.
2. You have to weed through multiple versions of the same file.
When people encounter the first issue above, things can quickly get out of control with different versions of the data saved across multiple files. Many times you can’t tell what exactly changed or by whom, making it a painstaking task to consolidate everyone’s changes back into a single file.
3. You run into limitations sharing or linking spreadsheets.
Microsoft has added a couple features for teams to work in Excel, but you probably experienced a lot of restrictions when trying to share or link spreadsheets. For example, when a file is saved as a “shared workbook” on your network, you cannot insert new cells, merge or split cells, modify formulas, or add or change conditional formatting. Another option is to create links between different files so people can open and edit at the same time, but links break easily if the data layout changes or the file is renamed or moved.
4. You are trying to collaborate using Excel Online.
Another way to allow multi-person editing is using Excel Online with an Office 365 account. However, Excel Online has many unsupported features compared to the desktop version. For example, you cannot view CSV files, apply data validations or conditional formatting, create advanced charts, run macros, use pivot tables, and the list goes on.
5. You are managing sensitive data using an Excel password.
Although you can easily add a password to a spreadsheet or macro, the level of protection is extremely low. It provides only a first line of defense for novice users opening files on the network. There’s nothing to prevent the files from being sent outside, and because Excel’s encryption is relatively weak, there is no shortage of free programs designed to crack into Excel all over the internet.
If you are experiencing any of these pain points, you are not alone. As the leading online database platform, Caspio has helped thousands of customers replace ineffective Excel spreadsheets with powerful online database applications.
Whether you’re using Excel as a simple database, reporting tool, or tracking mechanism, you can use Caspio to convert it into a custom database application without any programming. More importantly, you can extend your application with sophisticated database functionality like authentication, user privileges, email alerts, charts, and pivot tables – all while enjoying the enterprise-grade security and performance of Caspio’s platform-as-a-service.
To help you get started, here’s a video series showing how to replace Excel spreadsheets with a Caspio online database in less than an hour: