There are many issues with spreadsheets that are driving organizations to "get rid of spreadsheets!"

Among the issues are:

  • Each spreadsheet is its own database of information and is quickly out of date
  • Reporting upon the data across many spreadsheets is difficult or impossible
  • Maintaining the 'correct' version and enforcing its use is difficult
  • Security in spreadsheets is minimal
    • Basically, a cell is writeable or read-only
    • Password security on a spreadsheet is easily cracked with many online tools
  • Workflow around a spreadsheet presents many difficulties
    • Typically involves a manual process
    • Usually involves email where they can get lost or not processed
    • Involves shared directories where security and visibility become issues
    • Difficult to automate and enforce
  • Many, many more

While these issues are valid reasons to move away from spreadsheets, there are numerous reasons why spreadsheets are so prevalent in business:

  • There are over a billion people worldwide that know how to use a spreadsheet! That is an incredible amount of people. Show someone a spreadsheet, and they will most likely be able to use it.
  • You can get what you need to be done very quickly with a spreadsheet
    • No programming is needed
    • No IT department is needed to provide a solution
    • Formulas give immediate feedback when entering data
  • If you get stuck, there are plenty of help and resources available

There are a lot of good reasons to use spreadsheets. They are easy and quick to develop, and everyone knows how to use them. So we ask "Why throw out the baby with the bathwater?"

With the push to get rid of spreadsheets, we are throwing out an easy, quick solution that our users immediately understand. The real push should be to "Eliminate the issues with spreadsheets and leverage our current intellectual property."

While I was working for ServiceNow®, I was often handed spreadsheets from customers and asked to implement them in ServiceNow®. Most of the time it didn't work well. Yes, the data could be modeled, a huge number of forms could be created, lists could be presented, but in the end, a 'List View' application was made into a ‘Forms-Based' application. This led to most of these attempts failing because the end-users would not use the solution. They found it was very different from a typical spreadsheet, "hard to use, and with lots of form/windows popups."

This is an example where, if we could just "lift" the existing spreadsheet into ServiceNow® and maintain its looks, usage, business logic, etc., we could have made everyone happy. With UXstorm® UXsheets, this can now be done. When those customers made their requests, with UXsheets I could have created a solution within hours that mimicked their existing spreadsheets, and with additional features:

  • Security around the data in the spreadsheet
  • Control over the "published" spreadsheet
  • Reporting upon all data in all spreadsheets
  • Real workflow around the spreadsheet and its information
  • No training needed for the end-users as it's the same 'application' they used before

If your organization is saying, "Get rid of spreadsheets!", this is your chance to be a hero! So don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Use ServiceNow® and UXstorm® UXsheets and change the charge to:

"Eliminate the issues with spreadsheets and leverage our current intellectual property."