Since ages businesses have been using Excel in their different operations.
In the Education industry, Excel is being heavily used, typically in the admission processes by the counselors for their day-to-day activities, used by managers in extracting data and analyzing it, by the top management to track work progress & to gain useful business insights.
No doubt hands down, Excel is still a very useful tool today for performing calculations with limited data. Estimates vary, but Microsoft claimed in 2016 that about 1.2 billion people use Microsoft Office and about 120 million of them use MS Excel. It is, without a doubt, the most widely utilized office software on Earth.
Have you ever given a thought of an alternative to excel?
What if there is a better tool to use which suffices your same needs?
Should we think beyond Excel?
Let us have a look at some of the reasons why Excel needs to be given a second thought:
- Susceptible to Errors:
According to a recent article on MarketWatch, 88% of spreadsheets contain errors. Excel sheets can create errors even before you may just know about it, a simple mistake like misplacing a decimal point can result in huge errors. What can one little spreadsheet mistake lead to? Apparently, everything from financial loss to the firing of CEOs.
- Difficult to analyze sheets:
Links between two workbooks are common and useful. But multiple links where values in workbook1 depend on values in workbook2, which links to workbook3, and so on, are hard to manage. Each of these processes has the potential to introduce errors to the excel worksheet and will end up costing your business lots of money.
Fig. 1: Analysing data
- Challenging to gain detailed insights:
One of the major reasons for using excel is in gaining insights and measuring actionable data to make key decisions. Gaining insights using pivot tables and charts is okay, but can be limited to a certain extent. Reviewing performances and creating analytical reports can become extremely tedious using Excel sheets alone.
- Less Security:
It might be a hard disk crash, or a computer virus, if you’re using Microsoft Excel and storing your data locally, any of such events could have a devastating effect on your business. Also, multiple people can access and update the sheet at once. Spreadsheets aren’t designed to store historical data, so often, in an attempt to keep the size of them manageable, they are “updated” and institutes lose their historical data, which can cause long-lasting and terrible effects.
- Default settings don’t always work for you:
Excel defaults might be adequate for some or even most users, but if you find yourself resetting things every time you start a new file, then that’s a problem. Many a time, we see counselors spending the first few minutes of theirs in adjusting the default settings, which ultimately results in decreased efficiency.
Hmm, Caught thinking over these points?
If you are a decision-maker in an educational institute & yet reluctant to switch from Excel do have a look at the below reasons that institutes usually give.
- Less data:
“I have less data, so Excel would serve my work.”
A hesitation to switch over to other tools is mainly because of this thought that comes to the mind of the management. But what is a guarantee that it would remain in the same way? What would happen a year or two from now when all that data has grown? Are you still going to use Excel? Do ponder over this.
Fig. 2: An illustration of frustation caused while using excel
2. Doubtful over the change:
“We’ve always used Excel!”.
Agreed. But there can always be an alternative way to do things in a better way. Just because it’s always been done one way, certainly does not mean it’s the best way.
3. Difficulty in learning new software
“It is tough to use the new software”.
An assumption which can always be challenged. Many institutes are doing things the right way and using the correct software applications to manage their data and there is no/ minimal coding required in using these softwares.
There are many possible damages that arise from using Excel spreadsheets. The most common ones are errors, duplicate data entry, wasted time, and security issues.
The good news is that there are now great and inexpensive tools out there that allow companies to report in more effective ways.
About the author:
Neelotpal Gadre is Product Marketing Specialist at ExtraaEdge. He has done his MBA in Marketing & is a certified digital marketing individual. He is one of the major contributors to content creation & content marketing at ExtraaEdge. His other core expertise lies in Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, PPC & other digital marketing activities.