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Why Microsoft Excel shouldn’t be used as a substitute for an ERP solution

In the world of ERP systems, Microsoft Excel continues to be the main choice for managing data in businesses. However, it is important to understand that although popular, Excel isn’t an official ERP system and as such shouldn’t be treated as one. There are a whole host of reasons as to why Excel shouldn’t be used as a substitute for an ERP solution like Business Central. 

Let's dive into this a little deeper... 

Whether happening in the past or happening at the present time, almost all businesses have used Microsoft Excel in one form or another to analyse data and review financial numbers. However, is Excel able to evolve beyond its primary functions? Is it able to be used to replace current ERP systems such as Business Central? The short answer to these questions is a resounding no, here is why: 

Inability to be used collaboratively 

It goes without saying but Excel is perfect for those individuals working by themselves, however it is not great if you have to work with other people on it too. In business cases, where you need to work as a team, Excel’s limitations rise to the surface. An efficient ERP solution such as Business Central gives users a centralised platform, helps to improve collaboration by reducing data silos, optimises workflows as well as improving communications. 

Lack of security 

You will find that Excel’s vulnerability to data being stolen or tampered with is a significant worry for businesses. When comparing this to a proper ERP system, you will notice that these have security features built-in such as access controls as well as encryption, giving a much better environment for data to be secured effectively and efficiently. 

Lack of reporting options 

Ok, granted Excel might manage data efficiently, however you will notice that the reporting around this is limited. This means that many businesses have to find ways round these limitations, meaning that decisions take longer to make. The great thing about ERPs is the fact that they have reporting tools that are intuitive and customisable meaning that you can create impactful and meaningful reports for your business quickly. 

Problems when it comes to integrations 

You will also notice that integrating Excel with other systems is often a nightmare and time-consuming, especially for businesses that are using multiple systems. ERPs are built specifically to connect different systems, streamline operations as well as to deliver a better overview of your data. 

Lack of real-time insights 

Excel fails to deliver when it comes to giving real-time updates on data, making it much harder for businesses to produce fast and efficient reports. Power BI solutions from Microsoft’s Power Platform can deliver real-time insights via advanced technologies such as in-memory processing as well as data streaming.  

Inability to scale as your business grows 

It doesn’t come as a surprise but as your business grows the efficiency of Excel goes down, grappling with limitations on data volume and complexity. Dedicated ERP systems are designed to be scaled up, providing efficient data management and analytical features to adapt to your every changing business requirements. 

In Summary 

There are no doubts that Excel is a useful tool, however it is important not to use it as a replacement for an ERP system. ERP systems such as Business Central provide a whole host of leading features and capabilities that can be tailored specifically to your business requirements.  

Next Steps? 

At Advantage, we’re dedicated to transforming the way that you work through tailored Microsoft ERP solutions that can help your business to grow. Find out how Business Central can take your business to the next level. Connect with Advantage now to allow us to streamline your operations as well as help to improve your decision making. 

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