8 reasons you might be better to get rid off some of those Excel spreadsheets and get a custom database instead
The time taken to administer your spreadsheets can increase exponentially as your data and number of spreadsheets grow.
As your companies grows or your requirements change, managing all those spreadsheets to keep up with the changes can be a significant administrative task. Furthermore, as you change the data structure, it can become very difficult to make sure the formulas and references keep working. Debugging those errors can be very problematic.
Not only can databases give you multi-user access, they can also give specific access levels to different user groups.
It is important to control your data giving only access to those who need it. With a custom-built database you can be in complete control of who has access to see or change different data. If the system is hosted in the cloud you can also allow users to access the data from anywhere. Furthermore, you can publish the data you want on public viewable sites or give access to a restricted dataset to specific users from other organisations.
Having all your data in the same place allows for you have better more complete management reports.
The more your data is in the same place the more complete your reports can be. You can import data from other software to include that in any reports you want. This can be automatically if the 3rd party software allows it. Furthermore, the system can alert you based on any data criteria in the system using Facebook-style notifications and/or emails.
A database can be hosted in the cloud or on your office hardware, either way users can access what they need from wherever they are.
Having your data accessible using your desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone from anywhere can be an invaluable feature of custom-built databases. All the while having your data automatically backed up or even take historic snapshots of your entire dataset.
You can perform more specific searches more easily and more quickly than in spreadsheets.
With a custom-built database, can you search for text or date ranges more easily. It is easier to filter a large set of data to exactly what you are looking for. Furthermore, the results are more helpfully displayed only showing key information. The capacity of databases is far greater than Excel allowing for historic logs and any other large datasets you need.
Version control in spreadsheets can be a nightmare.
If you have many spreadsheets of the same structure used throughout time (e.g. staff timesheets) and you want to change the structure it can be extremely time consuming to apply any changes historically. With a custom database it is a simple task to restructure the database as required. Holding your company data on spreadsheets works for a while but you can be storing up problems for yourself in the future.
You can store linked documents to records in the database.
Very often you will have ad hoc files linked to records, for example, a contract linked to a client or a PDF specification linked to a product. In a custom-built database you can easily upload/download/view documents against individual records ensuring all the information about the item is in the same place.
Databases can connect to other software system you have.
While having all your data in one system that does everything for you is the ideal, sometimes it does not make sense and linking to an email system (like MailChimp) or an accounts package is a better solution. You might also have some existing software you do not want to stop using.
Automatic dynamic linking of systems means that the data integrity is preserved. No entering the same data into 2 or more systems not only saves time but prevents human errors. Depending on the 3rd party software this is sometimes possible in Excel too, but it can be automated in a database and systems can be linked dynamically pulling data in both directions.