© Copyright 2009, Delphic Sage, LLC
Excel to Web App White paper
Simply put, Excel is not the appropriate solution for reliable, efficient storage and processing of large amounts of data and it lacks the stability to do this in a safe way. If a user's machine were to lock up during a 20 minute long file opening procedure or aggregate calculation, this could mean thepermanent destruction of said spreadsheet due to file corruption. Also, because these files often sit onusers personal hard drives and not on managed servers, they often fall outside the net of the ITdepartment's automated backup routines.
Not only does the portability of Excel Files subject users to unnecessary risk in terms of scalability, italso opens up a host of security issues. The portability of excel files makes it much more likely that the your business intelligence will "walk away". If a bloated Excel file were to end up in the wrong hands,not only would this entity possess precious data, but also the logical calculations that are used to turnthat data into decision making power. There are various ways that an IT staff can lock down thepermissions file system and domain rules, but when it comes down to it Excel was never intended to be a secure place to store important information.
Productivity and Collaboration
As a business and the usefulness of its decision making tools grow, comes the inevitable need for thetool to support multiple users at the same time. Currently, this is not something that Excel handlesgracefully. In most situations, each user will keep his or her own copy of the file, and merge data andcalculations regularly with a master file. Many copies of the same file are created and emailed(another security risk), often with changes getting lost in the shuffle. The time spent managing thisprocess becomes a costly liability that grows with the company and the file.
Another great killer of collaboration (and therefore productivity) is a lack of accessibility. A bloatedExcel file limits accessibility in a number of ways.
Hardware Limitations -
To work with large files, the user must have a well appointed system. Thiscan limit which users are able to use the application. It is becoming more important than ever tosupport devices such as cash registers, dumb terminals and mobile devices to ensure top notchcollaboration.
The use of an Excel spreadsheet is often limited to those who have ready access tothe file. This often presents such expensive hurdles as VPN connections and File Synchronizationroutines that act as further impediments to collaboration with users who may be working from homeor at a client site.
- Microsoft Office must be installed on all clients.