Unbiased ERP and CRM Software Selection, Project Management

Spreadsheet Hell

Usually you start with an accounting system. All your data is stored there. Then you start to grow. You take on new people, and you track more ‘things’. At some point your system doesn’t have a place to store a new ‘type’ of info that you want to track. No problem, we’ll use a spreadsheet for now. Things are great for a while and business continues…

Data Silos Start to Appear

Suddenly an order is missed. One person didn’t check the right spreadsheet, because now there are multiple spreadsheets. They have popped up like weeds in your garden. They have each become their own data silo, curated by one or more people in a small group. The whole point of getting an accounting system was to tie everything together. One spot to store and retrieve all the operational information. Now that no longer is true.

No Checks and Balances

Unlike accounting software, spreadsheets rarely have any double-checking or error-prevention built into them. Mistakes are made. Bits of data are changed or deleted by accident. A formula is accidentally over-written. Except nobody notices for a while and they keep relying on the results in the spreadsheet. Now it is very difficult or impossible to figure out what caused the error, because we don’t even know exactly when the error was introduced.

Manual calculations are usually a symptom of a bigger problem. People don’t trust the system. If people don’t trust the system, they will develop their own. Side systems, spreadsheets, notebooks. Inevitably calculations are performed manually, and thus inevitably mistakes are made. Data is also lost or invisible since there is no central repository to store it or view it.

You need to get control back.

Next Steps

  • Do a system analysis and a process analysis to determine root cause reasons for people not using the system
  • Decide if a new system is warranted or if processes need to be put in place to add structure to data reporting, collection, and storage

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