Do you remember the good old days when Excel spreadsheets were the only way to store data? Although they’re still widely used, don’t they intuitively feel dated? Times are definitely changing, and it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest technology trends. In this article, we will discuss how Excel spreadsheets are becoming obsolete and what you can do to stay ahead of the curve!
The Rise And Fall Of Excel Spreadsheets…
There’s no doubt that Excel spreadsheets have been a powerful tool for businesses over the years. They’ve allowed us to track data, analyze trends, and make decisions based on hard evidence. However, Excel is starting to show its age. Newer applications are emerging that are more user-friendly and offer more features than Excel ever could.
To give credit where credit is due, Google’s live spreadsheet applications have helped extend the longevity of Excel. One of the biggest problems used to be that it was difficult to share data in real-time. If you were working on a spreadsheet with someone else, you had to send them the file, and then wait for them to make their changes, after which they’d send it back to you. This process could take days or even weeks, which certainly isn’t ideal if you’re trying to make timely decisions.
With the advent of Google sheets, Excel files could be shared in real-time, which was an absolute game changer. However, even Google sheets have their limitations. They’re not as user-friendly as they could be precisely because they’re still excel. The user interface hasn’t changed much, and they still don’t offer some of the features of newer applications.
Okay…So What’s the alternative to Excel?
There are actually many Excel alternatives on the market today that offer a more user-friendly interface and more features. One of our favorite Excel alternatives is Smartsheet. Smartsheet is an online application that allows you to create, share, and manage spreadsheets and other data in real-time. It’s super user-friendly and has tons of features that Excel doesn’t offer, like Gantt charts, workflow management, and cell linking.
Most alternatives can integrate files that users are already familiar with like Word docs, Excel files, PowerPoints, etc. This is a serious boost to accessibility and communication in that it allows for digital engagement on an unprecedented level.
But Smartsheet isn’t the only Excel alternative out there – there are plenty of other options available, like Airtable, Microsoft Access, and Filemaker Pro. But these are simply alternatives to Excel. In other words, these are one-for-one stand-ins, that still fill this very specific niche. At SmartComment, we believe data crunching solutions should integrate directly within the intended projects an organization or group is working on.
At the end of the day, we asked ourselves, if excel and its alternatives are the answer, what was the question?
Data Must Be Usable
The question, of course, was how do we store large amounts of transferrable data. But raw data has severe limitations to use. We ended up finding more reasons to ditch an excel tool than to keep it. Some of these are listed below:
- Excel spreadsheets can be difficult to use and often require training. We were after something more user-friendly that could be used by anyone, regardless of their tech skills.
- Excel spreadsheets can take forever to search through. We wanted something much faster that could handle large amounts of data without slowing down the system or hindering the user experience. You shouldn’t have to have a masters in data science to sift through your own information!
- Excel spreadsheets are limited in terms of features and functionality. SmartComment offers a variety of features that can help businesses communicate more effectively precisely BECAUSE they are project-focused. When all your focus is on rudimentary row and column calculations, you may easily lose sight of whatever broader initiative those calculations are supporting.
Our biggest takeaway was that in 2022, spreadsheets shouldn’t be considered the end product of a tool. The ability to crunch large amounts of data is now just part of how businesses operate – it’s expected that ANY online tool will have this capability. As data crunching capabilities are built into EVERY online software platform, the solutions Excel offers have been downgraded from being thought of as an entire product to a mere set of features expected of all products.
That’s the big shift. Everything needs to be able to export a cumbersome csv or xls file if necessary, but that isn’t how it’s supposed to natively operate when people need to find statistical answers.
SmartComment was built to accept electronic comments alongside emails, letters, hearing transcripts, Regulations.gov submissions, and more. Comments are stored in a secure database where they can be organized by topic, digitally bracketed, and analyzed with charts and graphs. Our software also allows you to take comments from different projects and compare them side-by-side. This helps you see patterns and make connections that wouldn’t be possible with Excel alone.
A different type of solution was needed – one that could take all types of data, regardless of format, and turn it into usable information. Something that would help businesses operate more efficiently and effectively. And so we created SmartComment.