Thinking beyond spreadsheets

The spreadsheet is a phenomenonal business tool. Its ubiquitous rows and columns and data processing capabilities are an asset to any organisation that needs to manage large amounts of information (which is to say: all organisations). They do have a shortcoming though, and one that can cause managers and employees major headaches (and money) down the line. It's that as needs change they become a complicated blend of bolted-on features designed by committee. It doesn't have to be this way.

Many spreadsheets are created to manage relatively simple or straightforward non-critical business functions. This simple document may be kept on someone's PC or on a shared network drive. For a time it works, but as circumstances or needs change, it begins to grow: scripts (and/or Visual Basic capabilities) are added, more users have access, external systems are linked in, and before long a de facto feature creep is in play, and you end up with a non-controlled full blown application. And one that is critical to your everyday business operation.

Detangling this situation is a painful and frustrating process. And this situation (or a version of it) happens all too frequently. The best remedy is preventive: take some time before creating that new spreadsheet and ask yourself: “what might this become?” And on the basis of your answer, select an appropriate technology, one that has the necessary features and adaptability to grow right along with you. WEM, as a fully featured and completely adaptable solution, is such a powerful and flexible tool that you never need to find yourself wrestling a spreadsheet again.