Ever since its inception, Microsoft Excel has been an integral part of organizations across the globe. Its ability to process mathematical equations and organize complex data meant that organizations readily embraced the application.
With the hype surrounding organizational privacy increasing in the last few years, companies have questioned Excel’s ability to trace back its audit trail, among other concerns
Despite such concerns being raised across various platforms, when faced with the prospect of switching from Excel, most organizations succumb to the pressure of finding a worthy alternative.
The process of transferring voluminous organizational data from Excel to new software is tedious. This further pushes people away who don’t want to ‘start over.’
However, there are multiple advantages that digital solutions provide when compared with Excel.
Benefits Of Using Digital Tools
Digital tools cater to modern needs and allow a greater degree of privacy and collaboration than legacy programs such as Excel. Here are 11 benefits of using digital tools as compared to Excel.
1. Efforts To Build Your Data Model
To curate a data model that is truly representative and build it into your spreadsheet program as your records for processing activities is a lot harder than it sounds.
And as extraneous variables change, so does the data model. This is why data models need to be updated periodically. With Excel, this means a whole lot of time needs to be invested in the data model again.
This is where online tools provide unparalleled value, as the data modeling structure is built directly into the core of the application. This allows you to keep updating your data model when your company evolves.
2. Control Over Permission and Access
Conventional spreadsheets, such as Excel, have limited controls over permissions and access. As data continues to grow — both in size and complexity — spreadsheets have not been able to keep up.
As technology continues to advance, modern organizations require a role-based permission strategy that allows them to restrict access based on the level of responsibilities. Modern digital tools support granular permissions that allow the simplification of the entire process.
Conventional spreadsheets, such as Excel, can easily be duplicated and copied. While illegal attempts to hack into data have evolved to evade yesteryear security protocols, Excel’s security is unable to keep off such threats.
Modern tools feature tough login protocols as well as spreadsheet protection measures which allow you to mitigate security concerns.
4. Sharing Data with Third Party
In Excel, users are unable to control access for third-party visitors, allowing them a complete view of all information which might be confidential.
In stark contrast, modern digital tools are designed for increased collaboration and teamwork. This translates to advanced third-party sharing options which allow you to place restrictions on their access with regards to time, the extent of information that is visible to them, and the number of users.
5. Combining Data From Other Sources
We are living in the age of ‘big data’ which requires organizations to combine various forms of data to infer insights and predict trends. In such a case, managing dozens of spreadsheets is not an uncommon scenario.
Modern digital tools allow users to combine data from multiple sources — suppliers, clients, processes, and assets to allow greater insight.
However, modeling such intricate inter-sheet links is not easy to achieve without an advanced digital solution. Excel allows users to maintain individual sheets which don’t combine data from various other sources.
This means every department is left maintaining their own individual sheet, and one minute error can cause a discrepancy.
6. Version Control
Version control translates to having an established approval cycle over every change that is made in the sheets. A common feature in modern software, this allows organizations to have an accurate inventory of data that is consistent across all channels.
Having no version control makes it easier for anyone to overwrite data. Such security flaws reduce the accuracy of the data, and with no feasible way to cross-check any errors, this leads to a decline in the level of trust in spreadsheet data.
In terms of privacy, lack of version control not only makes your data more susceptible to security issues but may also arise concern in your stakeholders.
7. Saving Time
Compared to their digitally advanced counterparts, conventional spreadsheets can present a cumbersome task for the person in charge of managing it.
Instead of utilizing your time to do any actual work, you are left handling maintenance and double-checking data entry.
Modern software streamlines the work process in an automated way, which allows administrators to manage routine tasks, giving them more time to do actual work.
8. Data Processing
Data processing makes use of various different variables and data sources — which means that one individual spreadsheet is unable to trace any risks and threats that are associated with data processing.
However, combining all the spreadsheets requires knowledge and time. With modern digital tools, you can trace what effect will the addition of a new data type for a data group will have on your general processing function.
9. Reporting And Visualization
Once you have organized your entire data set and inferred important insights, you need to present it very accurately. Another great feature of modern digital tools is the wide range of options to visualize and present your data.
Not only are users allowed to generate complete reports at the gentle push of a button, but they can also make use of the artificially intelligent model to summarize processed data
The ability to generate accurate reports rapidly is crucial when dealing with stakeholders.
10. Standardization and Easy Way to On Board New People
In order to get quality, companies need standardization that should be maintained. Based on practices and outcomes, standards should be improved. When new people join, they should get acquainted with these best practices and standard procedures, workflow, and data models.
Software brings not only a proper data model that is protected with rules that prevent mistakes, but also guides the newcomers through all integrated process.
11. Quality And Intelligence
The intelligent features of modern digital tools involve the ability to harness insights from data as well as allow the automation of mundane workflow processes — something that is unheard of in conventional spreadsheets.
Additionally, the quality ensured by smart software, which allows for greater accuracy and thus increased dependability is something which matters a lot when it comes to taking care of all-round data protection and privacy.
Although Excel could be sufficient and brings enough value for a while, digital solutions provide a more secure and more collaborative alternative. Going forward, modern tools can empower organizations to make data-based decisions with spending less time and efforts.