Spreadsheets are used often throughout the business world. Specifically, in the construction sector, they are used to manage costs, decide what resources will be useful, and make time management easier.  

However, there are spreadsheet alternatives that accomplish these tasks more efficiently and eliminate duplicate entry. The right software can offer you the ability to complete these necessary pieces of work not only more quickly, but with more accuracy. This saves you time and money in the long run. 

So, when should you use a database rather than a spreadsheet? To find out, read on for 12 compelling reasons to do so below.  

1. You’ll Reduce the Number of Errors You Make

Ensuring your data is accurate and up to date makes everyone’s jobs easier. Because many spreadsheets use a large amount of data to function, it can be easy to make mistakes. This issue is not helped by data being input and interpreted by humans.  

Human error will occur regardless of what platform you use to store data. To that end, the information you need can be more readily available and visible by finding the right system that has a familiar spreadsheet user interface, which ensures your formulas are always correct. 

2. Spreadsheets Increase Data Loss

Due to the vast amount of data contained in some spreadsheets, it is extremely easy for important data to be lost within them. Data can get lost as employees make various changes to spreadsheets. They may swap out old data in place of new data as a task or project changes.  

This means you lose access to that old data. Which can hinder your decision-making if you expect to make plans for the future of your company. 

Data is also lost in spreadsheets due to human error. Employees can input various data sets incorrectly, leading to the overall spreadsheet displaying incorrect data.  

3. Spreadsheets Don’t Have the Clearest Formatting Guidelines

Understanding the formatting guidelines of whatever spreadsheet software you use is important for ensuring your data is put in accurately. However, figuring out these guidelines is not always a simple task.  

You will have to understand various kinds of formatting procedures depending on the spreadsheet software you use. This means you must take the time to train staff on how to use it every time you change the spreadsheets you’re using. This is not a cost-effective way to manage employees.  

An estimating system like Sage Estimating won’t cause this problem. Once you and your employees have the right training, using this software is easy even as it updates. Overall, this saves you both time and money. 

4. Spreadsheets Don’t Offer Updates in Real-Time

Ensuring your team is kept up to date on the latest data is a high priority for construction leaders. Your team needs to know what they are dealing with at all times, and what they need to be prepared for. 

Spreadsheet data does not allow for real-time collaboration updates, which means your team can’t be as prepared as they need to be. This will cause problems down the line and ultimately results in you and your team being held accountable for this problem.

5. They Are More Difficult to Share with Co-Workers

One of the most important aspects of modern construction teams is that relevant data is easily shared. This data could include time schedules, blueprints, and general construction site or business guidelines. However, this data is not easily shared using a spreadsheet.  

This means employees have to spend time searching for the data they need, which could be avoided by using a database. A database allows your employees to have easy access to all the data they need. This cuts down the time they spend looking for it and increases productivity.

6. Spreadsheets Are More Vulnerable to Security Breaches

Industry priorities are now focused on keeping data and information as secure as possible. Not only does this protect a business’s interests, but it can also protect private employee information.  

What’s more, is that spreadsheets are quite vulnerable to security breaches. Because data-sharing is difficult between spreadsheets, everyone on your team is usually given access to all available spreadsheets. This leads to unintended security breaches because so many people have access to the same spreadsheet.  

With Sage Estimating, you have more control over what employees see in certain data sets. As progress on one data-set changes, you can add the relevant employees to it. This means only the people who are supposed to see particular kinds of data can.  

7. If You Have Many Employees, Spreadsheets Do Not Make Tracking Easier

If you are using spreadsheets to keep track of employee hours or other information, you may be doing your business a disservice. With many employees, it is difficult to continuously update and amend data surrounding each individual.  

Mistakes are also more common across businesses using spreadsheets to track a large number of employees. It leads to mistakes in time management and pay, which is not only bad for business but bad for team morale too.  

8. Spreadsheets Don’t Allow You to Add Attachments

Attachments have become an important part of working life. It allows for data and ideas to be transported more easily between relevant teams.  

Most kinds of spreadsheets don’t allow employees to add relevant attachments. This means those attachments are more prone to loss and miscommunication can occur between employees easily.  

With estimating systems like Sage Estimating, attaching relevant documents or data to relevant data sets is easy. It allows for anything you wish to share to be easily linked to the relevant employees.  

9. Tracking the Progress of an Employee or Task is Tough with Spreadsheets

Because spreadsheets are so prone to human error, using them to keep track of your employees or tasks is not always easy. As a construction manager, understanding how your team is progressing with a task can help you make predictions about when it might be finished.  

Spreadsheets make this difficult. This kind of data is hard to find and view using a spreadsheet because they often contain so much data about one task or subject.  

By being unable to assess the progress of a task, you can’t determine how effectively resources or time are being used. This is cost-draining and an inefficient way to work.  

10. Completed Task Data Is Not Always Accessible Using Spreadsheets

As a construction manager or contractor, you’ll want to delete tasks as they are completed on or off-site. This makes it easy to keep information organized. It also allows you to keep a record of what has been completed. 

However, spreadsheets do not make this task easier. By deleting entire spreadsheets, you risk losing other vital pieces of information. This could include the names of employees involved in the task or how much it cost. 

Other data-storing options make getting rid of finished tasks much easier. They will allow you to store a record of the task that was completed, along with the names of the employees involved. Some databases allow you to keep a slimmed-down version of everything you need to know about a completed task. 

This makes saving vital data and getting rid of superfluous information easier. It allows you to have more control over the data you keep and the data you delete. It also makes finding relevant data on completed tasks much easier.  

11. Spreadsheets Don’t Have a User-Friendly Interface

Spreadsheets are generally dull to look at. They are often just copious amounts of shortened or numerical data that is tedious to read. 

While keeping your employees entertained may not be a high priority for construction managers, a good user interface will improve employee focus. With a client-focused user interface, tasks are easier to manage. Changes to data are also made with a smaller degree of error.  

There are Microsoft Excel alternatives out there that have a much friendlier user interface than conventional spreadsheets. You and your employees will find it both easier to use and more helpful overall. 

Using Spreadsheet Alternatives Will Make Your Work More Efficient 

So, why do you need to say no to more spreadsheets? The answer is simply because doing so will save you time and money. Spreadsheets are time-consuming, often difficult to use, and can lead to the loss of vital data that you and your team rely on.  

Switching to Sage Estimating can help put an end to these problems. With a simple user interface and real-time updates, you will always get the most out of your data even as it changes.  

Want to learn more about Sage Estimating? Check out our YouTube Channel for more insights on Sage Estimating!