One of the most common questions that I am asked is why should I replace my excel spreadsheets with a database … will it really stop me “having hell” with excel ? And people are curious as what are the benefits of having a database rather a spreadsheet ? So here are 10 top reasons for dumping your excel spreadsheet.

1. Improved security

In many companies, there is a need to keep certain data confidential whilst other data can be readily distributed. These sort of privileges can be difficult to adminster – especially when there several hundred documents. In a database, every user has their own access rights meaning that it is far easier to manage access rights to information, leading to improved data security.

2. Share information more easily

With a spreadsheet (or even word document), only one person can access the data at any one time. However with a central database, several people can look at the data at the same time.

3. No more multiple data entry

Ever wondered just how much time you waste by copying and pasting data between documents ? In a database, you eliminate this time as all data is stored centrally.

4. Improved data consistency

As all data is stored in one place, it means that the entire organisation uses the same data rather than different versions e.g address spellings which results in improved data quality

5. Effective version control

One of the problems that I see often see in organisations is that people get confused between various versions of documents. A database ensures that everybody sees the same verison of the document. Further it is easy to keep a log of all the previous versions.

6. Enhanced Business Intelligence

with a database it is easy to set up a dashboard to spot potential problems in the business e.g any deadlines or payments that are overdue. As they are highlighted automatically, it gives you more time to track and manage the issue before it becomes a serious problem.

7. Effective reporting

Management need up to date information to make robust decisions. Often the data for this comes from several sources meaning that it takes time to assemble. With a database, report production can be automated – saving time

8. Drill down capability

With an excel spreadsheet, if we wanted to drill down e.g : see all the orders placed by a given customer or all the items that on an order, then it is not easy to present this information. However, in a database you can achieve this functionality very easily.

9. More comprehensive layouts

in an excel spreadsheet you can only place information in specific cells or rows. However, with a database it can be placed in a manner that you choose, meaning that you can bring together data in a much more meaningful manner.

10. Mobile devices

A database can be designed so that it fits neatly onto a mobile phone or tablet. So for example you can see on your tablet which customers owe you money or tasks that need doing a certain day. As the data is updated in real time, staff working remotely can have the same view of the data.

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