Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
The Disadvantages
Typical spreadsheet databases have many disadvantages. These
are the most common:
Errors. They tend to include many errors, because they seldom
undergo rigorous error-checking.
Reconciliation problems. Companies that rely on spreadsheet
databases typically have similar databases maintained by several
people. These seldom reconcile.
Additionally, each user tends to keep many generations of
spreadsheet databases in multiple workbooks. Often, these many
generations don’t reconcile.
External links. It’s not unusual for one Excel user to link his report
to a spreadsheet database maintained by another Excel user…who
gets some of her data from yet another user. Those many external
links represent a house of cards that certainly will collapse at
exactly the worst-possible moment, breaking a critical report.
Lack of power. Spreadsheet databases aren’t a very powerful
solution.
One reason for this is that they’re only two-dimensional databases
in a multi-dimensional world. To illustrate, they can report by
account and month; but they can’t easily report by account, by
month, by department, by division.
Another reason they aren’t very powerful is that they can’t handle
hierarchical information easily. For example, they can contain
spending by GL account. But they can’t easily return, say, total
marketing expenses, which is the sum of specific GL accounts.
Yet another reason is that spreadsheet databases can’t contain
much data. This often doesn’t seem to be true, because some
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