The cloud offers an exciting alternative to help you escape the Spreadsheet Prison!
Microsoft Excel is 30 years old. That’s almost as old as me. I’m sure most of you reading this article have a copy of Excel either open right now, or will inevitably be delving into the seemingly bottomless pit of spreadsheets that your business uses to function day to day. Expense tracking, sales management, timesheets, financial models… if it contains numbers or more than zero calculations you can almost guarantee that the default solution is Excel.
OK, so I am exaggerating to some extent, but innovation in cloud software and the continuous advancement of storage and data technology has helped millions of businesses escape from a prison of gridlines and pivot tables (or at least have a little more ‘yard time’). If your business is over ten years old, you probably used to manage sales leads and contacts through spreadsheets – and some of you still do – but thankfully, CRM systems are commonplace thanks to the innovation of entrepreneurs like Marc Benioff and his Aloha spirit at Salesforce who arguably coined the Software as a Service (SaaS) offering.
Similar revolutions in cloud accounting, payroll, VOIP and numerous other business offerings are helping us to move to a more secure and open platform for collaboration.
Now don’t get me wrong. Used in the right way, spreadsheets are invaluable powerhouses which allow us to manipulate large volumes of data without having to fork out for expensive software development. I admit I have several spreadsheets open as I write this! And at the other end of the spectrum, it’s quick and easy to put together lists and calculations. But when spreadsheets become a client-facing marketing deliverable or where things get a little more complex and inter-dependent, it might be time to look to the cloud.