Spreadsheets vs Databases – Round 1: Multi-User

The two heavyweights in day-to-day office life are spreadsheets and databases. Most of the software we all use which isn’t a spreadsheet is based on a database.  Accounting software, an online shop and your CRM are all database-related programs.

Many businesses still rely heavily on spreadsheets to help them run the day-to-day.  Others are convinced that databases help them be more productive, efficient and creative. We thought we should see how these two match up against each other by examining 10 of the most important ways they can help or hinder your day at work.  Seconds out…

In the first round we look at the multi-user capabilities of each.  How easy is it for more than one person to work at the same time?

ROUND 1: Multi-User



A common issue with spreadsheets is how to share them.  The usual call round the office is ‘Have you finished with the spreadsheet yet?’  As well as being frustrating this is a real productivity bottleneck.  How long before someone gets fed up and starts a separate spreadsheet or just guesses at something and makes a mistake.  Spreadsheets definitely suffer in a multi-user environment, which is most offices.  It’s not looking good in this round for Spreadsheets!


Databases can be easily set up to allow multiple users access to the data, allowing everyone to keep working.  There is also the advantage that different parts of the database can be restricted to only those users with permission, thereby keeping data more secure than a spreadsheet.  A custom database built round your business also brings many productivity and efficiency benefits allowing your team to get on with genuine value-adding work.

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Databases 1 : Spreadsheets 0

That was a pretty easy win for databases.  Perhaps you don’t agree?

Round 2: Automating Tasks

Other articles you may find interesting:

  1. Want to delegate to your team? Give them the right tools
  2. How To Get The Reports You Need To Guide Your Business
  3. 5 ways Spreadsheets could cost your company

To find out more about Working Data, Bespoke Database Development and how we can help your business become more productive, efficient and creative, contact us.


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