Why You Should Turn Excel Spreadsheets Into Web Apps

Posted on July 28, 2021


Of all the software regularly used by businesses, Excel remains one of the most popular by far. Spreadsheets are essential tools for businesses to keep a whole host of their processes organized but, despite its benefits, there are many parts of Microsoft’s spreadsheet solution that are particularly inconvenient, and can even make life harder.

EASA’s software offers a solution to the commonly-encountered issues enterprises find themselves having with Excel, and removes the risk of spreadsheet chaos. The EASA platform allows businesses to convert Excel spreadsheets into web apps, without involving any programming knowledge, and the resulting web apps continue to make use of the existing spreadsheets while eliminating the direct access that so often results in exposed IP, undesirable edits and version confusion. Here, we’ll go through the main reasons why your business would be best served by our web-based Excel solution.

It’s easy to make mistakes in Excel sheets

As useful as Excel is, sharing spreadsheets can be fraught with problems when it comes to allowing multiple people to input and amend data. An errant input, an inconsistent or incorrect data format (such as a date) or an overwrite of a formula or logic can result in at best wasted time and inefficiency, and at worst financial implications worth millions or even billions of dollars.

By contrast, turning Excel sheets into web apps can keep the underlying spreadsheet secure while the app itself can be freely shared within, and outside of, your organization, without concern over whether sensitive information or proprietary formulas will be written over or deleted. Through an EASA app, each user can only see the information you want them to see, with all amendments saved for them centrally on your corporate network or if preferred, in the cloud. This lets them share their version of the information with others but prevents any user’s changes, or errors, from impacting the spreadsheet as a whole.

There is a constant risk of version confusion

Sharing spreadsheets between users and organisations can lead to a great deal of uncertainty over which document is the master copy. This frequently results in multiple copies existing on various people’s computers and incorrect copies being sent across departments or in some cases, to customers, clients, or suppliers. At EASA, we refer to this troubling and inconvenient phenomenon as “version confusion”.

By creating a web app using the underlying spreadsheet data, version confusion becomes a thing of the past, democratising access to a range of documents — ideal for financial modeling, CPQ forms, scenario modeling, and many more purposes. EASA does this by allowing businesses to create a custom web app, with no coding knowledge required, that can be tailored to their needs. The correct version of the spreadsheet (centrally stored) is hardwired to the app while the data can be saved in a central relational database (supplied with the EASA system) ensuring that the correct version is always used, and the correct data is available in one place rather than a plethora of scattered spreadsheets. 

Excel isn’t always secure

Despite being so widely used, and created by one of the giants of the software industry, Microsoft Excel is a program which is full of security holes, making it virtually impossible to fully protect. Despite means to “lock”, hide and protect information, hacks are easily done and takes only a quick Google search to figure out. 

Creating a web app from your Excel spreadsheets, on the other hand, keeps the underlying document hidden, running as the logic engine behind your very own unique browser-based application. This web page format will allow all of the functionality of your spreadsheet, including macros, VB and other custom code, but only allowing certain authorized users to access whatever level of the document is required. 

Automation and integration is not easy

Spreadsheets often require input or access to other data sources or programs, and this is frequently done with old fashion copy and paste activities, and manually accessing and running other software packages. Automating data exchange and running other programs can be difficult or impossible to do within Excel, forcing this inefficient additional effort. EASA, in contrast, enables process automation where data can be generated by running other programs or querying databases – without the user having any involvement. Databases, CRM systems, and ERP are common applications that can be automatically queried by EASA, reducing errors and inefficiency.

What about approvals and e-signatures?

Excel is not a workflow management tool, and it is difficult or impossible to require a user to follow a defined process. With EASA, your web app can require approvals, additional input from other entities and other branches in a process flow. It can automatically generate notification emails to make the process even more streamlined.