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Spreadsheet misuse: Why it happens and how to stop it

Save MoneyDo you know why end users still use spreadsheet programs (like Excel) so frequently, despite all of the security concerns? The answer is simple: Spreadsheets are easy.

Sure, maybe they’ve sat through training classes on how to use your enterprise software. Maybe they already learned about the dangers of spreadsheet misuse. Maybe you’ve even given them a safer alternative to spreadsheets. But, here’s the problem: If the process isn’t as easy (or easier) than Excel, they probably won’t use it.

The solution: Give users simple, secure web applications that replace the most common Excel uses. In what ways is Excel most commonly used? When you boil it down, end users typically use Excel in three ways:

  1. They enter data
  2. They manipulate (edit, sort, and filter) data
  3. They analyze data

If you want to eliminate spreadsheet misuse, give users a better, safer way to accomplish the three tasks listed above. The best way to accomplish this: Give them web applications! Don’t know where to start? Here are some great web applications that replace the most common uses of Excel.

Applications that let users enter data into a database

1. Database Rapid Entry Application: This application lets users add new records to your database using a familiar, spreadsheet-like interface. As you can see in the demo, the Ajax autocomplete feature makes data entry a breeze.

Applications that let users manipulate data in a database

1. Database CRUD Application: For those unaware, CRUD is an acronym for “Create, Read, Update, Delete.” A Database CRUD application lets users create new, or modify existing records in your database.

2. Database Update Application: While similar to the CRUD application, the Database Update application lets users edit multiple records at one time.

Applications that let users analyze data in a database

1. Interactive Report: This application lets users view their data in any way imaginable. It lets them sort, drill down, and filter their data, and even provides interactive graphs.

2. Web Pivot Table: If you want to move users away from Excel, you must provide them with a pivot table alternative. This pivot table application pulls data in real-time from your database, while giving users the same features found in a spreadsheet-based pivot table.

Wrap up

Excel misuse creates all sorts of problems for businesses. However, if you want to move your end users away from Excel, simplicity is key. Give them a simple way to accomplish their goals using secure web applications. The web applications listed above give you a good place to start.

It’s the best of both worlds: Your users are happy, and your data is secure!