How do you know you’ve outgrown Excel

How do you know you've outgrown Excel

Especially for young businesses, the easiest way to handle their data has always been using excel. Though Excel has always been handy when it comes to data handling, it has its own shortcomings especially when the company grows bigger.

Here are some of the indicators that a company has outgrown excel and requires a more sophisticated software to handle their large database.

When The Database Gets Very Big

Imagine a company has 25 workers who will engage in activities with an average of 20 entries per day. This would translate to 120,000 entries a year, which means that the company is no longer where it used to be when they started using Excel.

Older versions of Excel can only handle up to about 65,530 rows of data. This is found in excel 2003. With improvement, Excel 2007 can handle up to 100,000 rows of data. When the data goes beyond this level, a company will require a smarter software to deal with their data more effectively.

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When it takes too long to analyze data

Excel is a simple logic calculation tool. When data gets sophisticated like comparing more than two sets of data, Excel is not going to be a great experience for any company.

When you compare several sets of data, the work becomes so bulky that by the time you get halfway, you have more rows to work on your spreadsheet than you can comfortably handle.

Imagine trying to analyze data on
– clients
– employees/ workers
– revenue
– orders
– expenditure
– and many others. This would eventually overwhelm the person working on the data.

You had enough of Errors in data entry

If it’s only one person handling data in a company, there could be very easy to rectify errors in the work. When more than one person handles the data, things get a bit complex. This due to the fact that we all have different levels of accuracy and concentration. It is a common thing to have some data mistyped without any warning from Excel.

Imagine someone who types
– $50000 per day instead of $500.00
– Blank cell
– Letter O instead of digit 0
These errors could be disastrous to any company.

Continuous data update

Excel is great in ad-hoc. You easily get your answer in minutes. This is not the case when it comes to frequent database updates.

It becomes a great challenge to data managers when
– Data requires recalculation after data import or export.
– References to the data need constant redefinition.
– Name inclusion or omission need to be worked on every time.
– Data flows in in big volumes

When this kind of challenges come calling, it means a company has outgrown Excel and needs a software that does all these automatically.


Excel has so many functions for an interface that may not be the most effective in comparing data. There are 329 functions in Excel 2003 and in 2007, there are 341 of them.
In an intense business situation, You require to greatly apply these functions to aggregate data and analyze tables which have numerals and text values.

Some of the functions include:
– SUM(IF()) vs SUMIF() vs SUMIFS()

The functions cannot synthesize data of mixed values (numerals and text). Excel may show zero instead of the expected outcome.
It would take ages to actually apply all of them to produce some excellent piece of work where a large amount of data is in use. At such a point a software that recognizes these values would save the company a great deal of time.

So, have you spotted any of these indicators in your business? Make your own life easier, and get a software for the thing you’re trying to handle with Excel.