Bridging the Gap: Preparing for Success – Moving from Spreadsheets to Software

On our previous podcast, we discussed how Capsher leads clients from identifying a gap in their software solutions to finding a solution to bridge that gap. But what happens when a client has already identified their gap and has been using a spreadsheet to fill it? When a client brings us a spreadsheet they’ve been using, they often voice fear of having to remove it from their process. Often when the idea of custom software is introduced, they suddenly discover that their spreadsheet has become a critical linchpin or perhaps a single point of failure in their production process. As a result, the idea of shifting to custom software and away from a spreadsheet then becomes intimidating.

Why do clients use spreadsheets?

Most people want to do their job and do their job well. Oftentimes, inefficiencies in software solutions get in the way of real people doing their real work well. Some inefficiencies can include things like the lack of a mobile app that matches the real workflow or the lack of an efficient way to import or export lists and reports. When your employees try to use their existing software solutions to do their jobs and they can’t for many valid reasons, they get creative. Spreadsheets are an accessible and effective tool that allows your team to remove obstacles and get their job done. 

Enterprise software can only succeed and survive when it strikes a balance between the three core pillars of an organization; people, policies, and processes. At Capsher, we constantly push to produce software that provides a good user experience and enables people to get their job done. It should work the same way in the hands of a master as well as a novice. Real-world processes and procedures should be reflected and it should be built for purpose. Ultimately, enterprise software should reinforce policies that keep people and the organization safe and secure.

So, then, are spreadsheets bad? Yes and not necessarily…

Spreadsheets are typically created to fill a necessary void within the organizations caused by an insufficient software solution or procedures that are out of step with business goals. To that end, they can be useful to keep processes moving. However, spreadsheets can pose a threat when they operate outside of an organization’s policy or put the organization at risk of data loss, data theft, etc. Businesses could also find themselves in a crisis when the creator of the spreadsheet leaves the company and ownership of maintaining and evolving the spreadsheet isn’t passed on. Over time, the spreadsheets continue to grow as new knowledge, new products, and new calculations are determined. Like a silent employee working hard in a cubicle, they are modified year after year and eventually evolve into amazing tools used by multiple departments to keep the production line moving. Then, like a key employee, they can become a linchpin in the day-to-day operations of your business. If that spreadsheet suddenly becomes unavailable, it will have serious implications for your operations.


Oftentimes, clients who use spreadsheets are unaware of the actual gaps their spreadsheets are filling. Through Capsher’s consultation process, we walk clients through discussions to identify the real business problems and gaps that their spreadsheets are temporarily filling. We bring the authors of those spreadsheets and their intimate knowledge of their workflows to the table to discuss the business issues they are currently facing. Once the real problem or gap has been identified, Capsher works closely with the client’s team in order to create a more impactful long-term solution that will set the business up for success; not only for today but for the future as well.

Authors of spreadsheets are creators and innovators. Spreadsheets exist solely because someone had an issue that needed to be solved in order to ensure business processes continue flowing uninterrupted. Spreadsheets are purpose-built, and so only a purpose-built solution can hope to compete. That’s why our software solutions are crafted intentionally and specifically to solve real business problems.