For a good reason, spreadsheets were the first “Killer App” in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Early spreadsheet software did little more than tabulate columns of numbers. Still, over the decades, many more advanced data processing features have been added.
Spreadsheet software has become the defacto standard for non-programmers to create straightforward and sometimes more complex 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 web page. Typically all data entered into a sheet is entered manually; integration from other data sources or programs is at best fragile and complex to set up on a workstation. 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 to be effective. There are barriers and pitfalls to scaling up a process that had been prototyped using spreadsheets.
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. There are integrations for a limited number of Web services. Still, results are 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.
When a process is critical for your business, it makes sense to put in the effort to build an enterprise-scale application. Create an application that can 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: