A web app is the solution to all your spreadsheet nightmares Blog added by Bob Sorenson on January 6, 2016
Bob Sorensen - SevenVerbs

Bob Sorenson

Des Moines, IA

Joined: December 09, 2015

My Company

So you've created the world’s best spreadsheet. Everyone in the office and in the field loves it. It's shaved hours off the time it takes to bring valuable information to your customers and prospects. But, you find yourself spending more and more time supporting the tool and waking up in the middle of the night thinking (well, worrying) about the “what-ifs” of this beauty, which is slowly turning into a your personal beast.

One morning you wake up and decide to recommend taking the spreadsheet you created, and finding someone to make a web application that provides the same functionality. Knowing there will be a cost associated with this, you write up the 3 “what-ifs” that are keeping you awake at night:
  • What-if someone uses an old version

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the first spreadsheet you shared with everyone was the only one. Not so, there have been many, many versions generated. As a matter of fact there are about 100 people using this spreadsheet and you have released 20 versions. No one wants to delete old copies meaning there are probably 2,000 copies floating around out there. You have created a system but there have been several instances where someone in the field has used the wrong version, which has caused some embarrassing moments with customers and prospects.

  • What-if someone changes a formula

    You have locked down the calculations as much as possible but there are a few places which need to be left unlocked.

  • What if fabulous Frank our sales guy - who thinks he is a spreadsheet wizard - decides to “tune” things up a bit?

  • What if this gets in the hands of our competitor? Both the inside and outside sales force come and go.

    It would be very easy for one of them to take the spreadsheet with them when they move to a competitor. This spreadsheet provides your company with a nice competitive advantage. If it got into the hands of one of your competitors it would be relatively easy for them to replicate.
You set a meeting with your boss, have a discussion about the “what-ifs,” and she gives you the approval to find a company to make this tool into a web application.

Three Months Later

Your inside and outside team are raving about how much easier things are with things running on the web. (Fabulous Frank in sales is complaining because he can’t make changes to the calculations, but he will get over it).The time you spent supporting the spreadsheet is now spent adding new capability. The only “what ifs” you are thinking about are related to "what if your bonus is big enough to take the trip to New Zealand you have always dreamed about?" You're not the only one who has struggled with the "what ifs" of spreadsheets.

These headaches are all too common, but they're very easily remedied by moving your spreadsheet to a web application.
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