The Free Dictionary defines Business Intelligence as ‘.. a set of theories, methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information for business purposes.’ It goes on to say that Business Intelligence ‘..can handle large amounts of information to help identify and develop new opportunities.’
So, how do Spreadsheets and Databases measure up when looking into Business Intelligence and the ability to identify new trends and direction for the business?
Round 4: Business Intelligence
With a spreadsheet, the experienced user can quickly take a table of data and make a graph or chart of it to examine it for trends.
The same is true of a database, but the skillset required for a database is broader and requires more time to learn.
So, the ease of use of spreadsheets could be an advantage when doing quick analysis of business data. I think we all started using Excel just because of this ease of use for the inexperienced beginner.
A new user can quickly develop a graph or chart from a simple table without training. This is one of the reasons that Excel has become so popular and widespread. It has meant, however, that there are many spreadsheets with different data sources being combined and compiled which often leads to unintentional errors in the reported results.
It would take longer to set up and generate a speculative one-off analysis using a database as compared to a spreadsheet, even for the experienced user.
However, it is easier to cross-reference and maintain data structures using a database, so the results at the end are more dependable and robust.
This round is not as clear-cut as previous rounds, as spreadsheets and database both have their advantages. Spreadsheets are quicker to set up, but databases have more traceable and robust data sources.
This one looks like a draw. Spreadsheets are quicker, but their outcomes are less certain because the underlying data is less robust and more open to misinterpretation and user error. We’ll call this one a draw, leaving the score at
Databases 3½ : Spreadsheets ½
Here are some other articles you may find interesting:
- How To Get The Reports You Need To Guide Your Business
- 7 Reaons Your Team Should Drop Spreadsheets
- Want To Delegate To Your Team? Give Them The Right Tools
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In the third round of this comparison of Spreadsheets and Databases we look at Instant Reporting.
Computers can compile information into useful outputs, like invoices, and insightful reports if we feed it the correct data. Which of our two contenders will come out on top?
Continuing our examination of which is more useful in the office, spreadsheets or databases, we look at task automation.
One of the benefits of computers in the modern workplace is that they can automate many dull, repetitive tasks and complete them in seconds. This makes a business more productive and efficient and allows staff to concentrate on creative, value-adding activities.
So, which one is better at it, spreadsheets or databases?
The two heavyweights in day-to-day office life are spreadsheets and databases.
Most of the software we all use which isn’t a spreadsheet is based on a database. Accounting software, an online shop and your CRM are all database-related programs.
Many businesses still rely heavily on spreadsheets to help them run the day-to-day. Others are convinced that databases help them be more productive, efficient and creative.
We thought we should see how these two match up against each other by examining 10 of the most important ways they can help or hinder your day at work. Seconds out…
I have recently been away for a well-earned break by the seaside. It has been a hectic year full of change, technical challenges and new developments. On my return I wanted to review the previous 12 months at Working Data and check out some basic management reporting.
Using our in-house Custom Access Database I pulled up the report showing the source of the last 12 months’ clients. 47% of our invoicing total came from repeat business with our existing clients.
1. Are they any good at it?
Even though spreadsheets are easy to get in to, they are also incredibly easy to break. Do you want to find out how little your team member knows about them after they’ve broken your ‘bible’ spreadsheet that does your invoicing and controls your work? Probably not. Luckily, there are other more suitable and affordable solutions to help your team stay efficient and focussed.
When you started out, you were happy to do everything.
Now, your business is growing, the workload is increasing and you are building a team.
Are you ready to delegate to them?
Have you got the tools in place to delegate and still maintain control over your business?
With an integrated Custom Access Database you are giving your team the platform they need.
Here’s how you can tell -
- Does more than one person need to use it at the same time?
- Would you like the spreadsheet to give you more tools and reporting?
- Has your business changed since the spreadsheet was set up?
- Does it take up time you’d rather spend on creative, value-adding tasks.
If you have answered ‘Yes!’ to any of these questions then it is time to consolidate your spreadsheets into a single, user-friendly bespoke database.
With a Working Data Bespoke Database you get: Continue reading
If you want to do this regularly, we recommend bespoke software. This will completely automate the process and allow you to bring up a range of reports at the press of a button.
For one-off exercises, however, this can be duplicated using VLookup in an Excel spreadsheet.