Spreadsheets are supposed to make our business more organized and efficient but sometimes, they do exactly the opposite; making it more complicated, tedious and time-consuming. 

In 32 years of its existence, spreadsheets (aka Excel) has reached from office cabins to desks and from office desks to drawing rooms. For more than three decades, people have been using Excel and are now are accustomed to it but Samuel Johnson wasn’t wrong when he said, “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” 

It’s not surprise then that spreadsheets have been the go to Enterprise Collaboration Tool for business across the world.

Excel is no more a need but a habit. Businesses today, largely depend on Excel without even realizing that most of them are losing out on a lot. Difficult to believe, right? 

Yes, your business might be facing similar problems that we found many businesses suffering from.

So, here’s a list of 12 common problems that businesses face using MS Excel and that are not expected to be taken with us as we enter 2020. 

Excel does not let you link data across sheets

While it is the most flexible and widely used enterprise collaboration tool, businesses face a huge challenge when it comes to linking data across two or more Excel sheets. Usually, your employees who manually make reports need to switch between two Excel or more sheets like the one which has customer details and the other with customer orders and generally, while in the winding, often the created report is full of errors or the entire team collaboration process is tardy.

no data linking in excel

There is no way to track changes  or see audit history in Excel

If you are a business that records data in Excel, there must have been times when you wanted to see which employee made a certain change in the Excel file but were you able to do so?

No, will be the answer. Excel does not have an audit history wherein you can view the last changes or edits made in the file or the employee who made it.

Generating consolidated business reports using Excel is very tedious

No business, from a startup to an enterprise, wants to waste a minute of the day but if you are an Excel user, you must be exhausting both time and effort consolidating data from multiple Excel files to generate business reports.

No Definite Status Movement

Do your business processes require a constant series of approvals. For example, if you are recording data about employee reimbursement in an Excel file and the reimbursement has to be done only after the approval or disapproval of different departments.

There is no possible way to maintain a definite approval status movement wherein every step in the process can be automatically recorded. This makes using Excel for approval management just impossible without risking errors or slippages. 

Excel provides you no reminders for tasks

MS Excel does not facilitate reminders for tasks. For instance, many businesses use spreadsheets for lead management.

In such a scenario, if you have to call a lead on a particular day or make a few changes in the Excel sheet before a presentation, you cannot get reminders for such tasks in MS Excel.

no reminders in excel

Spreadsheets at not scalable, it’s not a database

Larger companies, the larger the data and Excel is not capable to handle the increasing amount of data in a single file.

The most common problem faced with the increasing size of Excel files is constantly slowed down speed of the document and a bigger threat of it crashing down and of the entire data getting lost.

No Data Partition, Everyone has access to the entire sheet

One of the most important features that a business misses out on while using MS Excel is data partition.

Once someone has access to an Excel file, he or she is permitted to view all the data in the spreadsheet.

There are no read-only columns to restrict an employee to make changes to specific data or the option to view rows and columns that are pertinent to an employee.

For example, in a typical sales team that uses Excel sheets for tracking leads, every sales executive manages her leads in a separate sheet and the manager has to compile the data from multiple sheets from different sales executives to make a consolidated funnel report.

You cannot attach files to an Excel spreadsheet

As businesses adopt digital technologies, more and more information is being generated in digital files.

Many times businesses need to connect multiple pieces of information to consolidate information that is relevant to a particular process.

For example, a field service team in an engineering or manufacturing organization usually needs to store site photographs or equipment manual and other documents related to a customer ticket or service request.

Since Excel does not allow us to attach files, such business teams have to grapple with a separate document management software or a myriad of folders with the various files. This is not just tedious to do but also error-prone and time consuming. 

no file attachments in excel

No Access Control to limit access to certain parts of the spreadsheet

Ever wondered what happens to your confidential data when one of your employees leaves the job?

He leaves with all your business data and the possible odd usages of such confidential information is endless.

Scary, right? Once someone has access to an Excel file, the access can never be retrieved and the data could easily be duplicated or downloaded.

Automation is hard and macros can be unsafe

Are you a coding junkie or a person who knows everything about macros, if not, you are going to have a tough time automating in an Excel file.

Excel does not have a drag and drop process to automate, you must be proficient with macros for even the simplest of the automation processes.  

Using Excel spreadsheets is difficult on the mobile 

Ever tried scrolling across a mammoth-sized Excel file on a mobile, you know the pain, fellow.

It’s a tedious task to scroll through the rows and columns and fill in data.

The entire spreadsheet view is not appropriate and it will take ages to find a specific column in the compressed space on mobile screens.

Data Leakage is a big risk with Excel sheets

Is business data security your concern?

Well, using Excel in 2020, you’ll have no or very limited control over how your business works.

Once someone has access to the file, you have no control as to what the person does with the information.

Your organization’s information is at stake. Always!

Your organization might be using Excel for a myriad of business processes until today.

But as you enter 2020, it is time to come out of the habit of using Excel as a default tool and leave the problems with it behind by adopting new-age workflow management and collaboration tools.