Our IT Manager has been working with the advanced and programmatic functions within Microsoft Office for 25 years. Like everyone else we marvelled at the tools available in Microsoft Excel, however it doesn’t take long to be faced with the limitations of Excel, ever heard of ‘death by Excel’ or ‘Death by Spreadsheet’?
Excel has it’s place in the modern office, quick analysis, multi-dimensional calculations, visual indicators (charts, pivot tables etc). The primary problem with Excel is that it is essentially static data, as soon as you change a number on your spreadsheet you are dealing with figures that are not available to others in your business.
Centralised data, shared appropriately (and securely) with those who need visibility is a much more sensible and future-proof method of data management. Basically moving from spreadsheets to a database will revolutionise the decision making logic within any organisation. Modifying a part of the data like a customer’s delivery address happens once in the database and everyone who uses this has instant access to the updated details.
There are a myriad of options available to centralise your company data. Of these options, nothing (in our humble opinion) is quicker then Microsoft Access, shipped with the Professional or Enterprise editions of Microsoft Office. Very rapid application development is possible for 1 to 10 users using native Access storage and when required the central database component can be easily upgraded to Microsoft SQL Server, allowing reliable data sharing to hundred of simultaneous users. There is even a free version of SQL Server that will happy cope with up to 100 users.
We are massive fans of the Microsoft Office suite in all of it’s versions. There is a real world reason why the free editions of competitors products do not feature heavily in the business landscape. Simply put, Microsoft Office continues to attract more users because of it’s intuitive nature and feature rich interface.
Having centralised your company data, the true power of the Microsoft Office suite is then realised by the use of the inbuilt programming language within all Office products, called VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) allows seamless interaction with all other tools shipped with Office, sending emails with Outlook, displaying charts and graphs with the same tools used by Excel. Indeed interaction is possible with many third party software systems and directly with the Windows operating system itself.