7 Steps You Need to Take to Dump Your Reliance on Spreadsheets
While you’ve probably relied on Excel as a trusted business tool for quite some time, it’s time to rethink how reliable this tool really is. Due to its inability to be updated by more than one person and its deceptive simplicity, spreadsheets are extremely error prone. In fact, some sources actually put the error rate at 80-90%. So, why are so many businesses in the construction industry still relying on such an outdated and error prone system? The biggest reason is due to a resistance to change. Most subcontractors have been using Excel for over 20 years and are hesitant to integrate newer technology into their businesses. Although it may seem easier to stick to the way you’ve always done things, you are hurting your business each day that you wait to adopt new tools. It’s time to dump your reliance on spreadsheets for good and move on to bigger and better tools.
So, what are the steps you need to take to break free from spreadsheets?
Make a commitment and stick to it
The first step in moving forward is to commit to doing it. While it may hurt your wallet to invest in new tools initially, the results will prove to be far worth it. In the end, you will be making fewer errors which mean you’ll actually end up saving money!
Examine & determine which areas of your business use spreadsheets
You likely use spreadsheets in a variety of different areas within your business. Once you commit to dumping spreadsheets, you need to investigate where spreadsheets are currently being used and for what reasons. After you determine these areas, you can begin to execute how you will move away from spreadsheets.
Have a game plan for possible employee backlash
Humans are known to hate change, so keep this in mind. A good way to keep employee resistance at a minimum is to keep a good flow of communication. Explain exactly what is happening and reassure them of the future benefits. Allow employees to ask questions and feel like they are being heard. Most resistance to change comes from fear of the unknown. Honest communication eases this fear and makes everyone more comfortable about transitioning.
Investigate which areas are likely to cause the greatest possibility of problems
Different areas of your business will be affected more than others. This could mean higher workloads and longer hours for certain departments. Investigate which areas are likely to be affected by this so that you can plan ahead.
Create a system to track results from the transition
Come up with a list of all measurable results that you can track as you transition. In addition to numbers, be sure to measure employee feedback as well. Ask team members about the advantages they have experienced from the shift. This data will be extremely useful in showcasing the success of your transition.
Start making changes gradually
People in your business might be resistant to the changes, so start slowly! Integrating to new processes is going to affect the way everyone does their work so it is important to be conscious of this. Down the line, your employees will thank you for dumping spreadsheets. In the meantime, ease them into the shift!
Listen to your employees
Your employees will probably have complaints as you begin your transition, but they will also have suggestions! Utilize this brain power and welcome their suggestions. For the employees who complain about transition problems, reassure them that the benefits will be worth it in the end. Eventually, people will come around!
Although the transition won’t be easy, you will thank yourself down the line. Soon you’ll be asking yourself how you ever relied on spreadsheets to begin with!