Articles - 3 min read

Are you still using spreadsheets?

AUTHOR Lou Crane

DATE May 2020


You’re not alone. There are many businesses of all sizes, across the industries who still rely on spread sheets to manage their operations. It may be as simple as a member list or, like one company we visited, who held every one of their 1000s of products, descriptions and prices across 150 tabs. Yes, the fear was palpable.

What was devised as a useful business tool to solve relatively simple problems of data storage is now trying to solve complex, multi-layered functions and inevitably, it will break.

What should be a selling point for Excel – its ease of use and accessibility – is actually not true in practice once you move beyond one user. Maintaining the data if it changes means it needs constant updating and then auditing becomes too difficult. It’s not a simple task to work out who did what, not everyone understands what information should go where as you don’t see the logic and this leads to misinterpretation, error and more time commitment. We also see businesses who have under gone a period of growth and need to have concurrent users on a system for which Excel is not equipped – there’s no version control, no multi-level security, roll back functions or role-based permissions.

We’ve seen first hand what can be achieved with spreadsheets and it’s no basic workbook. However, the effort required to create these for every new task, knowing the limitations and the inherent danger of data loss means you’re ignoring the warning signs, especially when there is so much more out there.

Is it time to move on?

We understand the fear, and conceptually, it’s a tricky one to describe, let alone get every stakeholder on board. However, moving away from Excel to a bespoke model that has everything your spreadsheet doesn’t will give you a powerful way to store, process and manage your data, your own way.

What can Urban do to help this?

We love complexities, but our approach is much more about starting simply and evolving into a complex system when we know that we’ve given you a structure, stability and a process that will be far superior to any spreadsheet. We’ll work together through our Vision Program to calculate exactly what we need to build and then migrate you across to your own software with the least amount of down time, built for every need, not a ‘make do for now’ solution.