Spreadsheets vs Databases – Round 8: Task Delegation

In round 8 of 10 we turn to the key element of Task Delegation.  In order for a business to grow, work must be delegated to new and less experienced staff.  How do our two contenders fare at helping the business owner to offload some of the day to day grind?

Round 8: Task Delegation

Spreadsheets

diagram showing the multitude of skills and functions a business owner must performThe most up to date version of Microsoft Excel, at this point in time, is Microsoft Excel 2013.

There is now the option to share spreadsheets more successfully using the subscription based Office 365 which can synchronise files between a shared online folder and individual PCs.

There is also the option to work on the files online using the online versions of the main MS Office programs (Word, Excel and PowerPoint).  These are better than the Google counterparts but are still not nearly as powerful and flexible as the more traditional, locally installed MS Office suite.

Delegation, however, is still managed and maintained outside of the program.

Databases

A diagram showing how a database allows a business owner to delegate tasksThe currently most up to date version of MS Access is Microsoft Access 2013.  This can also be synced between different computers using OneDrive but there is no online application version as there is with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  Access is simply too rich to be replicated as a design environment using a browser online.

When we delegate a task we have to get used to the fact that the job won’t get done exactly the same way it would if we were still doing it.  That’s part of the difficulty of letting go of the day to day tasks in your business.  So, you want the tools which will reassure you that the task will be performed to a certain standard that you can control and monitor.  This is where having a database-centred office and business processes comes into its own. With a custom database your processes are built into the day to day software in your office.  This guides the employee down a pre determined path.

Their options are guided so that you can ensure the same quality output for your customers without having to personally perform each task. It also means you do not have to train your new recruit as much as the software will be much easier to use rather than what could be quite a complex spreadsheet.

RESULTS

Spreadsheets have an advantage in that they have online counterparts which means that employees without MS Office installed on their computers can still carry out some work for you.  However, true delegation remains something which operates outside of the system and training needs would probably be higher.

A database program is designed to work precisely within your business.  It guides your staff safely through the steps required to perform your key business tasks and functions.  This reassurance allows business leaders to step back from day to day activities and concentrate on business direction.

Given their greater ability to allow a business owner to safely delegate tasks, databases win this round.  The score so far:

Databases 7½ : Spreadsheets ½

Here are some other articles you may find interesting:

  1. How To Get Your Team On The Same Page.
  2. Want To Delegate To Your Team? Give Them The Right Tools.
  3. Spreadsheets vs Databases – Round 1: Multi-User.

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Read about business process flow diagrams and how we make custom Access databases for a wide range of clients.