Would you ever build one on purpose?
Now I really love spreadsheets, they are so flexible and powerful. But would I ever design one or more into the core of a multi-million pound business?
I don’t think I would.
But a lot of companies have mission critical spreadsheets (it takes a while to admit to them …) – often these spreadsheets start as a good idea and become key to the business in a very short time. They must have something to offer then?
They can’t really be beat in terms of viewing and analysing data (I know I have tried!).
But as a source of data and data transformation well they are very good but anything can happen; from an incorrect cell lookup (oops it’s the purchase price and not the sale price I just quoted …) to some duff maths (how do you calculate net margin then?). And I’m assuming regular backups are taken, they are locked in a safe overnight and have secure logins … ?
So not so good at the security and robustness tests then maybe?
How about we compromise then – hold the data itself in a nice tough, secure, fast and flexible SQL Server database and allow the users to access this though an Excel spreadsheet?
Saves a lot of development work on analysis and reporting tools, you can sleep well too …