Process Improvement, Part 6

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“Give me your tired, your poor, your ugly, nasty Excel spreadsheets and I will turn them into SharePoint LISTS of beauty (with audit trails.)  All kidding aside, the recession has caused many departments to solve their own business problems with complex spreadsheets. 

I’m a big fan of Excel, but we’ve all seen situations where the business process and problem are just too complex for Excel – but the IT department has no time, money or people to help the business user solve his or her need.  SharePoint LISTs are a great next step, and we will show you how in our next call, focusing on the following points:

Key Discussion Points: 

  • During a down economy, with IT budgets cut back, many departments have to solve their own problems with complex Excel spreadsheets…
  • SharePoint’s LIST function acts like an Excel spreadsheet on steroids…
  • Solves common problems…allows multiple users in the same spreadsheet at the same time – without conflicts…saves enormous “cut and paste” time…
  • Provides a record (audit trail) of “who entered information and when”…provides versions on each row so mistakes can be easily corrected and accountability for entering accurate information can be maintained…
  • Allows read-only access to some users and read-write to others…
  • Provides simple to medium complexity math…
  • Alerts can notify managers about the status of hot items…
  • User logs can quickly tell bosses if their people are doing their jobs…
  • Work assignments allow the spreadsheet to become part of the full work flow for the department, maintaining accountability for completion of every step…

Example #1 for the call – A Medium Complexity SpreadSheet:  We will discuss a spreadsheet from these examples.  BEFORE Process Flow (password=asco11)    AFTER Process Flow (password=asco11).  BEFORE SharePoint, 70 people sent their updates to one person, who spent 3/4 of a day cutting a pasting to produce the final report.  Because she did not “own” the information, there were always errors – sometimes with big consequences.  This was a valuable admin person who had far better things to do.  AFTER  SharePoint, this process went to almost zero time because all 70 people were able to enter their data simultaneously into a SharePoint list.  Big time savings, greatly reduced errors, accountability maintained.

Example #2 for the call – A WHOPPER SpreadSheet – Requiring Both SharePoint and Custom Development to Solve the Problem:  This is a current client we are working with, so I will have to show you work in process during the call.  This is for a small business that has grown rapidly, using Excel spreadsheets because there are no custom software packages for their niche industry.  My guess at this point is that custom development of their entire system would cost $250,000+.  We should be able to meet the need with SharePoint and a little custom development for $75,000 or so.

Join us for the call-

Tom

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