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Excel and Access TrapThe Excel / Access Trap

Excel and Access are both extremely useful and powerful tools, most businesses could not operate without them. But…overuse of spreadsheets and Access databases could become a problem.

Have Excel and Access have become a problem or too inefficient?

Getting Excel Under Control


  • Where do I get the latest copy of this SS. Report?
  • Has anyone modified the Macros since last week/month?
  • Can unauthorized people see salary/personal information?
  • Is the data secure?

Potential Solutions

  • Host SSs on a shared drive; limit access rights; hide / lock columns/sheets
  • Document management systems
  • Excel Services and SharePoint
  • Consider replacing some spreadsheets with line of business applications
Beware of Access ‘databases’

It’s NOT a database, it’s an APPLICATION

  • It’s “free” and “easy” (at first!)
  • The code is hard to maintain & you soon outgrow it (but you are now dependent)
  • The business logic and UI are embedded in database (Worst Practice 101!)
  • Access does not scale well, and relies upon file access mechanisms for security

Potential Solutions

  • Use Access only as the UI, use a true RDBMS for the database
  • Remember SQL Server Express and MySQL are FREE
  • Consider replacing the access database with a line of business application
Final Thought

Understand your processes before automating them!

Business owners often think that by purchasing a software package that will improve their processes when all they are doing is automating a broken process!

The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.
- Bill Gates