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What you should consider when choosing an alternative to Excel

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Microsoft Excel is undoubtedly a well-known and widely used spreadsheet program, but it quickly reaches its limits when it comes to complex data management tasks.

In this blog post, we explore what companies should look for when looking for an alternative to Excel and which solutions are best suited to their specific requirements.

What is Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program from the Microsoft universe. Users can use the program as a desktop version or as a mobile app. With Microsoft Excel, data can be calculated, analyzed, and visualized. For this purpose, the data is entered in rows and columns and linked using formulas. Companies must purchase a Microsoft 365 Business subscription to use Excel.

What is Microsoft Excel suitable for?

Excel is often used in a corporate context for accounting, as CRM, ERP — i.e. for data management in general — But the tool is actually not suitable for that.

Geschäftsmann nutzt eine Alternative für Excel auf zwei Monitoren im hellen Büro.
An alternative to Excel is worthwhile for companies of all sizes.

Microsoft Excel is simply a spreadsheet program. Although databases can be created on a small scale, Excel does not meet the requirements of a data management system.

Excel is often a good start for small companies. However, the options are quickly exhausted. Excel is suitable for

  • importing data
  • to edit data,
  • sorting data
  • filtering data
  • to analyze data,
  • represent data graphically and
  • Identify patterns in data.

So you can definitely use Excel to track inventory levels, manage budgets, and track customer orders. However, due to a lack of database and automation functions, you will quickly reach your limits and have to look for an alternative to Excel.

You can use Excel for small projects. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a full-fledged database for managing customers, inventory management and financial accounting, you should look for an alternative to Excel.

Disadvantages: What challenges Microsoft Excel poses for companies

Microsoft Excel appears to be a cost-effective and easy option for companies. But to use the program to its full extent, it takes a lot of practice time. The application is anything but easy to use and Only those who are familiar with basic mathematical calculations will be able to create complex calculations with Microsoft Excel.

Automation features are not provided in Excel. If you want to automate tasks, you must also learn Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).

Team arbeitet kollaborativ an einer Alternative zu Excel auf einem großen Bildschirm im modernen Büro.
If a team works together on projects, an alternative to Excel is particularly recommended.

Microsoft Excel is a powerful program, but it has many disadvantages for companies:

  • limited programming options
  • lack of ability to integrate
  • inefficient processing of large amounts of data
  • lack of database management
  • User interface complexity
  • Performance issues with complex calculations
  • lack of access to APIs

Microsoft Excel should not be confused with full-fledged database software.

What are the benefits of switching to an alternative to Excel

In reality, everyday business life still looks like this: Data is stored in countless Excel spreadsheets, stored in various locations and shared via e-mail. A digital, privacy-compliant process clearly looks different.

Nahaufnahme von Finanzdaten, die als Excel-Alternative auf Papier gedruckt sind, mit Diagrammen im Hintergrund
An Excel alternative has many advantages - in particular, it can contribute to a better overview of data chaos.

A relational database, on the other hand, can store large amounts of data permanently and securely. Unlike Excel, data types are not misinterpreted. For example, if you enter MARCH1 in a line, Excel will recognize this value as a date. This feature fell to one medical study 2016 Get on your feet, because the value is also a code in genetic research.

When switching to an alternative to Excel, namely a real database, you will benefit from these benefits:

  • scalability: Databases can efficiently manage and scale large amounts of data.
  • Data integrity and security: Databases provide advanced security features and mechanisms to ensure data integrity.
  • efficiency: As an alternative to Excel, databases are optimized for complex queries and analyses, which enables faster response times.
  • Multi-user capability: Databases support simultaneous access by multiple users, which promotes collaboration.
  • automation: As a true Excel alternative, databases enable the automation of processes and workflows to increase efficiency.
  • Integration with other systems: As an alternative to Excel, databases offer extensive integration options with other business applications and systems.
  • flexibility: Databases allow you to adapt to changing business requirements over time.
  • data consistency: As an Excel replacement, databases ensure the consistency of data through transaction mechanisms.

What to look for in an Excel alternative

When choosing an Excel alternative, it's important to consider several factors:

  • usability: Is the user interface intuitive and easy for your employees to learn?
  • Integration options: Does the alternative offer seamless integration with other enterprise applications and data sources?
  • Data protection compliant: Does the Excel alternative meet the required data protection standards and offer mechanisms to secure personal and business-critical data?
  • Mobile use: Is the alternative mobile-friendly and allows smooth use on various devices and operating systems?
  • offline function: Can data also be edited offline and do the changes automatically synchronize as soon as an Internet connection is available?
  • Data import/export: Does the alternative for Excel make it easy to import and export data from various sources?
  • cooperation: Does the Excel alternative support multiple users edit files at the same time?
  • adaptability: Can the replacement for Excel be adapted to the company's specific requirements and workflows?
  • role management: Are there mechanisms for managing user roles and access rights?
  • real-time data: Does the alternative to Excel offer the ability to collect, display, and analyze real-time data?
  • scalability: Is the Excel alternative able to scale as the company grows and data volumes without sacrificing performance?
  • cloud storage: Is data stored securely in the cloud and does the alternative offer sufficient storage space and security measures?

Taking these points into account when evaluating alternatives to Excel can help you find the best possible solution for your organization's unique needs and goals.

Junge Geschäftsfrau mit Tablet, auf dem eine der vielen Alternativen zu Excel gezeigt wird, vor einem Teammeeting im Büro.
Looking for alternatives to Excel? Many softwares also offer mobile apps.

These are the benefits of a low-code solution in the cloud

Low-code solutions in the cloud offer companies a agile and efficient alternative to Excel. Without extensive programming knowledge, you can create your tailor-made database. The combination of cloud software and low-code development enables rapid deployment and scalability of applications while reducing costs and maintenance costs.

With Ninox, the various users on your team can work in the spreadsheets in real time. With integrated role management, employees only have access to the data that is relevant to them. In addition to the cloud application, Ninox also offers mobile apps and stable offline functionality. As soon as there is an Internet connection, all data is synchronized and stored — in compliance with GDPR, of course.

Ninox is a true alternative to Excel.

As an alternative to Excel, Ninox offers you all the features that companies are looking for in a database management system. In addition, thanks to the low-code approach, you can make adjustments and automations to ideally tailor the database to your business processes.

Conclusion: Finally use a proper database

We have to pull this tooth out for you: Although Microsoft Excel is used by many companies as a database replacement, the software is not intended for this purpose. The result is a lack of functionality and data inconsistencies. Switch to a real database such as Ninox as an alternative to Excel, and benefit from efficient data management and digital processes.

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