Spreadsheets where the first “Killer App” in the late 70’s and early 80’s, for good reason. Early spreadsheet software did little more then tabulate columns of numbers, but over the decades many more advanced data processing features have been added.

Spreadsheet software has become the defacto standard for non-programmers to create simple and sometimes not so simple business data processing systems. Spreadsheets allow rapid prototyping and rapid evolution of business processes but there are drawbacks. By definition spreadsheets do not scale beyond the single user case running as a conventional application or in a web page. Typically all data entered into a sheet is entered manually, integration from other data sources or programs are at best fragile and complex to set up on a work station. Spreadsheets also lack secure mechanisms to manage access to sensitive data. Deployment management can become unwieldy when there are multiple versions of the same spreadsheet among different users. Finally business processes captured in spreadsheets often still have manual steps that the user needs to know about to be effective. Needless to say, there are barriers and pit-falls to scaling up a process that was prototyped using spreadsheets.

Solutions to spreadsheet growing pains

On-line converters

In the last several years multiple pathways have appeared to go beyond the limitations of spreadsheets. On-line offerings like AppSheet and Appizy make it quick and inexpensive to transform a spreadsheet into a form that makes the logic accessible in a web and mobile friendly way. While there are a few relatively primitive integrations for a limited number of common Web services, the result is limited to a web-calculator or relatively simple data collection form. There are many business cases where these services are a great option. However, converted spreadsheets have significant limitations compared to a comprehensive software development project.

Custom development

Of course when a process is critical for your business it makes sense to put in the effort for a true enterprise scale application to meet current and future needs in a scalable and secure way. Where a tested process exists as a set of spreadsheets and procedures the most complex and error prone step of software design has already been passed. Implementing the logic in a custom application opens many possibilities not possible in a spreadsheet. Case Study: Green Building Integrated Management

Let our experience work for you, we’ll analyze your existing process and hone an efficient implementation that is easy to use and scalable for the future of your business. Our custom application stack provides:

Contact me today to schedule a free consultation.