The Perils of Home-Grown Spreadsheets: When To Contact a Consultant!

Bespoke software can be a fantastic way to save a bit of bank, especially when you don’t require a fully fledged software system that does everything from automating invoices to making you a hot cuppa in the morning. But how far can a home-grown spreadsheet go? In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the common issues that arise, and when it’s probably about time to contact a consultant!

Analysing data, automating tasks, streamlining business processes; a Spreadsheet can be a powerful tool in the right hands. But, like the tender leaves of a Bonsai Tree, they need care, attention and a loving prune once in a while if they are to stand the test of time.

Often a spreadsheet solution arises out of a specific business need - but, then again, what type of solution doesn’t - and it falls to your local tech guy or gal to take it upon themselves to create it. It’s all well and good, and it works just fine; exactly as intended. But the lack of formal training in spreadsheet design may yet reveal itself as a problem further down the line... 

These hand-made solutions often work well. For a while. But over time new requirements are added, staff members (that actually knew what was going on) move on, newbies start adding more and more code, tangling and weaving like a kid’s bowl of spaghetti, and eventually you end up with a bloated, tangled mess of software that no-one quite understands. Not only that, but this poor, bloated piece of software might even become slow, buggy, or just plain broken.

But, just as a weed-ridden flowerbed needs the green fingers of a gardener, the tangled roots of old spreadsheet software often needs the deft hand of an IT consultant. It’s actually a far more common problem than you’d think, stretching across all types of industry, and it’s a problem we’re often asked to deal with. 

In short, bespoke software often takes on a life of its own when multiple people contribute, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be reigned in and returned to its former, succinct glory. It’s not necessarily just a matter of cleaning out some old, nasty code though, but when it comes to rebuilding a solution, we’ve spent years refining and perfecting our spreadsheet know-how like some sort of techie Sherlock. Not to toot our own horn. 

So, terrible analogies aside, is your home-grown spreadsheet:

  • A tangled mess of code?
  • Slow?
  • Buggy?
  • Just plain broken?
  • All of the above?

Then it’s probably about time to call in the big guns. Don’t worry, we’ll have your bespoke pride-and-joy back up and running in no time.

Need help with sorting out old and outdated spreadsheet solutions, or need some new bespoke software creating? Take a glance at our website to see how we can help.

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