The spreadsheet is a long standing tool of information management and analysis, although for many small businesses it will make more sense to migrate to a fully fledged database server setup.
If you are on the fence about making the move, here are a few motivating factors that should tell you when the time has come to do so.
Performance is taking a hit
When it comes to dealing with data, speed is of the essence, but this can quickly evaporate if your spreadsheet software gets overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information it is required to handle.
Meanwhile with the help of SSIS integration you can transplant large, ever-growing data sets to a server running the likes of SQL to see serious performance boosts. This will also give you the scalability to grow your resources over time, rather than being bottlenecked by the software itself.
Shareability is restricted
As spreadsheet files spiral out of control, making them accessible to others within the organization or outside contractors becomes trickier.
If you are relying on local files, the size may be the limitation if you intend to share them via email. Even if you are using cloud-powered spreadsheet software, this too will become unwieldy when you go beyond a certain point.
Conversely when you adopt a database server, you will be better equipped to share, transform and leverage the information in a variety of contexts. In the long run this will save you time, money and stress within your small business.
Security is an issue
Data is not just the life blood of any business from a commercial perspective, but it can also be a major point of vulnerability given the strict rules governing security and privacy.
Spreadsheet files are a potential weak link, as it is tricky to manage and restrict access to them, or monitor how and where they are used.
Thankfully database servers are built with access management in mind, empowering you to significantly augment security levels and ensure that only the right people have access to sensitive information at a time when cybercrime is more conspicuous than ever.
Data duplication is giving you headaches
With a spreadsheet, it is entirely likely that data will be replicated again and again, meaning that it is not only an unnecessary resource hog, but that it is also difficult to guarantee accuracy across all sets that should theoretically be identical.
Because databases take the storage of data and keep it separate from the analytical side of the coin, this problem is dealt with in an instant. This leads to big boosts to efficiency and means you can do more in less time, which is clearly good for any business regardless of its size.
Insights are not available on the fly
Spreadsheets require a lot of manual manipulation and frequent updating to deliver the kinds of analysis and insight you need to improve your business.
Database servers can be harnessed in conjunction with the right software to streamline reporting, turbocharge analysis and let you see exactly what is going on within your business in real time.
If any of these aspects have rung true for you, now is the time to leave spreadsheets in the past and embrace database servers instead.