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Using spreadsheets?

excel-spreadsheet-iconAre you using spreadsheets?

We take data stored in spreadsheets to the next generation of data management – a database! Spreadsheets are great for lists and tracking things. Their rows and columns format is excellent for when things are simple. Some basic bits of data for as little or many rows as you like.

What happens when it gets a bit more complex though? When there are a series of tasks for each of several projects? When there are team members working on multiple projects and each of their weekly status updates can be up to 200 words long? When there are a variety of documents, multi-media files and web links associated with a variety of on-going jobs? These requirements can overextend the capabilities of even the best spreadsheet setup.

When things become more complicated, a FileMaker Pro database is your solution to taking control of your data in a way that is efficient, elegant and easy to maintain.

 

How do you know if you need a database?

When your spreadsheet has columns that have the same or similar headings, it is a good indication that you would be better to use a database for your information. When you see Category 1, Category 2, Category 3, for example. Or Fall Mailing, Q1 Mailing, End of Year Mailing, as another example.

Why would I use a database instead of an Excel spreadsheet?

Because you believe double entry is a waste of time, not only in the effort it takes, but in the time it takes and money it can cost to fix mistakes.

Because natural connections in data are not easily made in a spreadsheet, and you would love to know things about your business like what percentage of your tasks are not being completed on time, what percentage of your labor is in-house versus freelance, how much of your inventory is being lost to waste and which of your client’s are producing your highest per job profits. And which are not.

Because knowing in real-time the status of a delivery saves staff time and more importantly customer time waiting for you to find an answer.

I just wanted to thank you for your excellent work in developing our Electronic Logbook. I was particularly impressed with your ability to come in as an outsider and grasp so completely the very complex data set, workflows, and people issues – all of which had to be reflected in the design and execution of a relatively complex relational database. I’m also pleased with how the project is turning out and the ease of implementation as our staff (most of whom have never used FileMaker or similar programs) have begun to integrate this great new tool into their daily routines. One by one we are throwing away the old, static paper logbooks and Excel spreadsheets!

David

Editorial