Everyone seems to be using spreadsheets, even though they aren’t that useful. There, we said it- excel spreadsheets are not as useful as everyone has become accustomed to believing.
To be fair, Excel used to offer immense value. But not anymore. There is an increasing rate of businesses that are dropping Excel and switching to higher-value software and platforms.
Why do people use spreadsheets instead of health and safety software? By the time you have training data in a spreadsheet, it’s lost its whole purpose. Spreadsheet programs are great for organizing, analyzing, and even graphing data, but health and safety software makes it possible to apply industry-standard principles and automate tasks without human errors.
It’s so common to use spreadsheets that we don’t ask ourselves whether they are really the best method of presenting information. Spreadsheets are great for solving specific problems, but it's important to be aware of their limitations.
People love spreadsheets because everyone’s so used to them. The problem is that they don’t have a lot of features. So while the everyday Joe loves a good spreadsheet, they don’t do much for a successful business.
Out with the old and in with the new
Excel was a star in the past because it was able to address some very specific needs. Today, the situation has changed. It's still very good at what it does, but today there are other, newer tools that can help you in ways that Excel never could. Now that data collection is easier and more accessible than ever with the advent of cloud computing, Excel has become irrelevant. Excel as a go-to tool for all kinds of business operations just can’t keep up with the flow.
As a safety practitioner, you should not be using spreadsheets to manage your safety program.
Here’s why companies across all industries are ditching excel:
- Data and information mismanagement
Spreadsheets can cause information to be lost or missed, take too much time to complete and generally not add to the efficacy of taking action. Do you know how to track everything that's happening in your health and safety program? If you’re relying on Excel, chances are you are far from on track. A more modern approach is to use a software design to provide a more efficient solution. Specially designed health and safety software automates the process of compiling information, eliminating the need for constant re-calculation. With real-time updates, your team can see changes almost instantly, so they’re never out of date. These changes include scheduling, training, and most aspects of a thriving health and safety program
According to Market Watch, only 12% of excel spreadsheets are error-free. That's a staggering statistic for any operation- but especially for health and safety where lives literally depend on an efficient (and that means largely error-free) health and safety program. Excel spreadsheets are extremely hard to maintain. If an error is missed, it might make its way to production, causing serious problems for your company. The bottom line is this; if your workplace has a health and safety program riddled with errors then your company and employees are facing serious risks.
- Data containment without leverage
Excel is a means to manage your information, not to analyze it.
Because Excel is just a containment system for data, it can't automatically check whether all the figures match with real results. When you use Excel to analyze your data, you can only take a look at the surface of the data and there’s no way to make sure that all the numbers in your spreadsheet match with real results. Excel is a platform for storing and organizing your data, but it doesn’t allow you to analyze the data at any level.
- Wastes Time
When you rely on Excel to help run your business, you’re taking a huge risk. Problems with the Excel program can quickly bring your health and safety program to its knees. More specifically, it can bring those in charge of health and safety to their knees in exasperation at the number of hours spent manually updating and merging spreadsheets. Besides the excessive errors that can happen, it is also an excessive amount of time to waste on ‘paperwork’- especially if those documents have an 88% chance of containing errors.
With the help of online software, you will no longer need to apply complex Excel formulas or work hard to track your employee incident reports or analyze training schedules. A platform like VITS can also help you collect your data and generate reports in minutes. You no longer need to take hours preparing pivot tables, training, or finding incident reports.
- No KPI Dashboard
The easiest way to get a quick overview of the state of health and safety in your business is to get a KPI dashboard. Excel sheets do not provide this essential feature, so it makes sense to invest in an alternative platform that provides an easy to use KPI dashboard with fully integrated features for data capture and management.
Microsoft Excel stores your data locally, and this opens it up to a wide range of problems.
If you are storing your business data in excel sheets, the risk of data security breaches is higher. Because your employees use spreadsheets to store all their sensitive information, your company is vulnerable to information security breaches. What’s more, if your data is stored locally using Microsoft Excel, you're only one Hard Drive crash, rogue employee, or virus away from ruin.
If your health and safety data is relying on Excel as you read this- your system and valuable data are in danger right now.
Alternatively, business management software and health and safety platforms have features that Excel does not, such as the ability for team members to access relevant business data by logging in, leaving track of changes. When using business management software, all your data will be stored on remote servers. This helps ensure that your data is safe and makes it easy for team members to access business data in a safe and secure way.
The Bottom Line
Using spreadsheets can lead to data errors and security breaches – and even if you avoid those two issues, you’re still wasting your time and hurting your business by using an inferior tool. Excel spreadsheets are very frustrating and error-prone. They waste a lot of time and damage data quality, and they can even be used to hack into your business.
Tired of using countless spreadsheets to stay on top of safety? Be more efficient with health and safety software like VITS software.