What types of problems do spreadsheets cause? Big, expensive problems. Here are a few examples:
- A well-known drug maker accidentally disclosed confidential information, forcing them to revise their financial forecasts, which lowered their share price.
- The London 2012 Olympics accidentally oversold 4 events by 10,000 tickets.
- A spreadsheet error led to a $153 million error for the Dept. of Energy.
The fact is, spreadsheets cause so many problems, there’s a whole group dedicated to the topic. You can read about these (and other) problems caused by spreadsheets on their website.
Why do spreadsheets cause so many problems? Because they’re easy to use, but nearly impossible to control. Anyone can create and distribute a spreadsheet. But, who controls that spreadsheet? Which users can access the spreadsheet? How many versions were created, and where are they stored? Who has altered the data, and is the data correct?
If you want to fix the spreadsheet problem, try this: Give users a better option. After all, people use spreadsheets because they’re simple and readily available. Just give them an equally simple, yet better alternative.
Here’s something that will really help: We recently graduated the data upload template from the Project Exchange into m-Power. The data upload template gives users a simple way to upload spreadsheet data directly into your database. It helps fix the spreadsheet problem in two key ways:
1. It lets users easily move their spreadsheets to the web
Once end users upload their spreadsheets to the database, they have plenty of options: They can update the data with maintenance applications, or analyze the data with reporting applications. Even better yet, their data is more accessible since it’s now on the web. There’s no need to email spreadsheets to themselves or others.
2. It lets your company control the data
Since all of the data is securely stored in one place, there’s no need to worry about how many versions exist, where those versions are located, or who has access to the data. You control which users have access to view or edit the data.
How can you use it today?
m-Power users can download the latest update (March 6th), and begin using this template immediately. If you’re not an m-Power user, and want to learn how m-Power works, feel free to sign up for a free m-Power Trial. It lets you build a web (and mobile web) app in 30 minutes without any programming.