Time to retire Excel

As businesses grow, it’s an unfortunate reality that the software underpinning operations is one of the last things to get attention. It’s all too common for data to be held in one or multiple Excel spreadsheets and Access databases that were fine a few years ago.

However, as the team has grown, people have moved on, or the complexity and quantity of data has increased, these Excel sheets have become a drain on resource time and are a bottleneck for the business. This is particularly true where multiple users need to work on the same document which then leads to fragmentation and merging of data which is prone to mistakes.

There are countless examples of these inefficiencies, whether it’s tracking products in the buying, merchandising or supply chain process, or finding that multiple people are spending 10-15 minutes just to find out if an order has been paid for!

If this sounds familiar in your business it’s time to consider moving from Excel to Enterprise!

Custom software has the advantage of being built around your businesses workflow and has the benefit of being usable on multiple devices including mobile and tablet too.

Identifying Inefficiencies

Using tools that haven’t been designed to do exactly the job you need them to is inefficient, and this inefficiency costs you time and money.

Whether it’s navigating through parts of the tool that aren’t needed in your workflow, or trying to bend the rules of the system to fit your needs are all a cost to the business.

It’s worth remembering that you and your business use these tools every day, the hidden cost of inefficiency is startling.

One of our Enterprise clients estimating that a piece of software Igale built for them led to an efficiency saving of £2m across their business in the first year from launch!

Spotting That You’ve Outgrown Excel

One of the main issues when in this position is that it is hard to spot just how inefficient a process or set of processes has become. With the relentless pace of business and business change, it can be helpful to take stock of what is and is not working, take a look at the processes and the systems underpinning them and consider if with a fresh start would you approach the solution this way?

Once the issues have been identified, the next step is to engage with the wider team and understand their frustrations with the process and whether they understand the requirement for change. These people know the current solutions’ quirks and how to work around them to achieve their outcomes.

Matching Software To Your Workflow

A prime example of this was with one of our clients who had over 10 spreadsheets that were required to run a batch of processes for reporting on an operational area of their business. Over time, the reporting requirements grew, became more complex and once a week, one member of the team was arriving at work at 05:00 to have all the reports prepared in time for people to arrive at 08:00.

Once we had broken the process down, and understood both the data and workflow we were able to replicate the workflow in a custom enterprise solution within 6 sprints and within a further 2 sprints had integrated an additional data source that gave visibility of information that had previously existed in a silo.

Automating Repetitive Work

In the example above, much of the work required to produce the reports was easy to automate, and once we were able to assess the data inputs and outputs we worked with them to produce an efficient system that cut 3 hours of work to under 20 minutes.

As multiple people could work on the system at once, much of the pressure on the one person that was previously required to do all the reporting was shared amongst the team, and the whole team were able to focus on value add tasks that they previously could not achieve.

If this scenario sounds familiar it’s worth considering whether bespoke software could improve productivity for your business. If this has prompted you to consider your next bespoke software project, get in touch.

More articles

The advantages of Agile

In bespoke software development projects, the majority of C-level executives in major organisations believe that: Project management and development are too bureaucratic Project management and

Read more »

Understanding the MVP

Our team has worked with clients over the past 30 years to build minimum viable products (MVPs) as quickly as possible, allowing the earliest deployment

Read more »