If your business relies heavily on spreadsheets (Excel, Google Sheets, Numbers, ...) to run, saasifying them may be a good idea, here are 6 reasons why you should consider it.
One big issue with handling single files, especially accross people, is : how to ensure that everyone uses the correct / latest version. Sharing files through email / usb / ... can work, but, it is hard to make sure of it.
What if Mary is on vacation when the bi-annual update gets made ? Will she gets the new file upon her return ?
Using a centralized system removes that issue. Plus, it makes it easy to rollback changes in case a mistake happens. The less spread something is, the easiest it is to maintain.
In a remote and distributed world, where anyone is increasingly expected to be always on and able to reply at anytime, have you thought how your employees can access the resources they need if they are not at there usual workstation ? Can they still access that spreadsheet? Will they have the right software for that ? ...
Wouldn't a web interface with all the safety controls in place be a much better experience ?
Also, spreadsheets ahev one fundamental flaw that we'll explain in the next point.
Security & IP Theft
Spreadsheets are great, but, they are also very open. The file contains everything, formula, proprietary data, ... Whoever has access can reverse engineer your business easily.
When and employee leaves your company, are you sure they don't leave with crucial information that could help your competition ? Or even, while they are working for you. Your business may be one e-mail from loosing its edge.
By the way, password protected files aren't much safer either, anyone with enough time could figure out the password and access the content. Plus, to begin with, password are as strong as the initial person typing it has been. 'password123' won't protect you for a long time.
Moving to a centralized application, hides all the secret sauce from people who don't need to see it. When done properly, it separate the concerns so that those who shouldn't see how it is made don't. You can control who can access what and how by authorising or restricting the access at will (Don't share credentials!). Plus, you can monitor usage as well and detect if something is wrong.
Using your spreadsheet requires some knowledge, knowledge of what it does, how it does it, so that whoever uses it knows exactly what to type / where to type it and what to expect as a result. And based on the result itself, what should that person do ? Over time, and as people changes, ... that knowledge gets diluted, the process gets done without really thinking about why it is done, personal preferences kick in.
Using a centralized process allows you to be much more specific. You can present to the user only what he really needs to see and make things clearer. You can help and guide them towards what they need to get accomplish. You can remove some of the guesswork and propagate any change in a unified way.
That piggybacks on the previous knowledge point. But, besides making the process easier, it also has the benefit of simplifying how people work. Centralizing each processes can (and should) also lead to centralizing all the work. Meaning, instead of having X spreadsheets that someone needs to remember by name, you provide access to a single portal that directs the user based on what he/she needs to accomplish.
Instead of having a clunky user interface made of a lot of menus and options that you don't use, you provide only what is necessary.
Instead of having the user remember to write and send an email to someone else with the result of some calculation, the application does it automatically.
... all you can think of becomes possible much more easily when you move away from spreadsheets, which lead to the final point ...
Move away from a spreadsheet and focus on the process. Using a centralized system / software / platform (or however you want to call it) can gives you more freedom into making your business and process evolve and grow. Centralizing the process solves the issue of having to rely on each person's interpretation. It gives you the freedom to think one step forward.
Can you add some automation based on the data you have ? That can save time to have your employees focus on more valuable tasks.
Can you run the process more frequently ? If you automate it enough, you could. What benefits can you then get ? Can it save you from running out of stock on crucial components ? Can you spot and solve some problems earlier, possible even before they happen ? Can you move to real-time feedback for really critical components ?
You can expand on processes without adding more to the plates of your employees, allowing them to focus on what matters most.
Why you shouldn't : It adds complexity
However, despite these benefits and advantages, it is important to stay realistic. Saasifying and moving to a product / standalone version of your business / work / ... can add complexity. It moves the risks, but the benefits can be huge. Though, it is on you to decide if it's worth it.
Thankfully, we can help. Feel free to contact us to know how.