A 2008 study shows that close to 90 percent of spreadsheets contain errors -- an alarming statistic considering data is at the core of most businesses.
Enter cat meme.
Perhaps one of the best (or worst, depending on your world view) examples of spreadsheets gone terribly wrong involves a Fortune 500 company.
JP Morgan in London was running huge bets worth tens of billions of dollars in Excel spreadsheets. Not with automated processes or fancy formulas, but by cutting and pasting from one spreadsheet to another. It took one wrong equation to send billions of dollars down the drain.
While this is an extreme, there's hundreds, if not thousands more stories of companies who could have avoided a costly, usually human-initiated spreadsheet error.
It's why companies driven by digital transformation are moving many of their central processes off Excel spreadsheets and into centralized business application platforms.
In a couple clicks, line of business managers can convert spreadsheets into live business applications, making data more transparent and connected throughout an entire organization. Some business application platforms can go a step further by enabling process management to create automated workflow and task-driven notification from desktop to mobile device.
Here are five processes companies are taking off spreadsheets and converting into live business applications.
1. Supply Chain Management / Inventory Management
Many retail brands still have fragmented legacy systems and Excel spreadsheets for running all their inventory, reporting and shipping operations. Moreover, data stored in different siloed formats create unnecessary complexity for spotting and reacting to trends.
Poor inventory management is one of the top 8 reasons why small businesses fail, according to SBA.gov.
Business applications can track, manage and organize product sales, material purchases and other production processes. Using barcoes and radio-frequency identification (RFID), businesses can also see when shipments come in and where raw materials are located. Business apps reduce the time a company spends on basic tracking to instead focus on finding and reducing inefficiencies in their model.
2. CRM/ Sales Leads
Drive sales down the pipeline using sales leads and custom relationship management business applications. Business apps help bring your sales team closer to your customers with up-to-date customer information and tools that let you spend more time closing deals. Ditch your out-dated daily reporting tools and share dynamic analytics. Some business application platforms also come with mobile apps to help team members update sales lead information from anywhere, anytime. With open API, business application platforms can connect to your favorite third-party databases for even greater utility.
Use business apps to record the time you spent working on your projects, track your team and stay ahead of deadlines with real-time notifications on mobile devices.
4. Project Management Workflow
Share project documents, communicate better, and optimize the productivity of all your team members no matter their time zone. Using one platform to track the status of projects with real-time updates and analytics, discover a new-found efficiency to focus on the big picture. Make better decisions by seeing how much time your team spent on each project through real-time smart charts, calendars, and lists that are all easily customizable and optimized for mobile devices.
Whether you're a small business or have hundreds of employees, business apps make it easy to automate invoicing, payroll and expense tracking from one platform. And you can even integrate with other services like Quickbooks and Basecamp.
About the Author
Nicole is Director of Marketing at Kintone, with 10+ years experience in content strategy, campaign management, lead acquisition and building positive work cultures of empowered, purpose-driven team members. She spent seven years as a journalist, previously serving as a CBS San Francisco digital producer, NPR contributor, Patagon Journal deputy editor and reporter for several publications, including the Chicago Tribune. She's passionate about the tech for good space, social entrepreneurship and women leadership. On the weekends, you’ll likely find her putting her Master Gardener skills to use in at community gardens in Oakland.