23/01/2020

Excel Is Great, But Not Forever

by Dave Craggs 14th January 2020

Excel is a great business tool. Flexible, powerful and easy to use. Many businesses rely on Excel and build up a tool set that the company relies on more and more.

But after a while limitations start to emerge. Flexibility also means that errors can creep in, data is not validated and inconsistencies occur.

I was approached by a company who were having issues with spreadsheets. These were used to schedule activities in locations all over the country. These tasks needed to be scheduled by area and as they were outdoors, weather was an issue. The process was taking longer and longer and causing problems to the business.

We developed a system that imported data from the spreadsheet into a database and validated it. We then provided a dynamic map display using the Google maps API and a facility to auto schedule according to configurable rules.

We then configured the planner to show the weather, when available for last minute scheduling.

The system proved a great success and we particularly liked the comment that a task that took 4 days previously, now took just an hour.