Spreadsheets are the number one form of business intelligence software in the world. Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets are incredibly easy to access and share among employees, groups, and teams.
Inserting customer data into spreadsheets is a traditional way to stay organized without consuming too much time. However, there are safer alternatives to storing sensitive customer information electronically.
Spreadsheets Make Sense for Many Business Models
Spreadsheets aren't all bad. There are millions of businesses that utilize them successfully every single day. Spreadsheets are easy to learn how to use, and that knowledge is within reach of every person on your team.
There is nothing complicated about the formulas and sharing processes involved in utilizing spreadsheets. Most people are familiar with updating and sharing them, so very little training is involved.
For saving time, storing and updating customer data into spreadsheets makes a lot of sense.
For the most part, spreadsheets are free. They are entirely cost-effective when we're talking business intelligence software methods. Alternative BI tools can get too costly, depending on which package you choose and your purpose behind utilization.
Also, many business intelligence software versions require a developer's input or a ton of technical expertise. Since many businesses have to hire out for that kind of work, it's typical to skip the advanced software and stick with spreadsheets rather than invest time and money into a project that doesn't seem worthwhile.
Luckily, we have a solution for some BI expenses, but we'll get to that later.
What Happens When Spreadsheets Don't Work?
Sometimes, spreadsheets just don't cut it. So often, they have too many hands stirring the pot, and it's easy for information to become muddled, confused, entered incorrectly, accidentally erased, or just plain wrong.
Also, we have to discuss the topic of security when using Excel and Google Sheets. When storing files online, there is always the possibility of a hack or security breach. It becomes even more possible when you're consistently sharing files as we do with spreadsheets.
The internet is rarely the safest place to store information.
The software we employ, such as BI tools, makes it safer to conduct business. Here are a few things that can go wrong when using spreadsheets as your businesses' only business intelligence tool.
Hacked or Lost Customer Data
Large corporations such as Target and Experian have faced severe breaches of customer data in the past. Can you imagine how easier it is to hack into a smaller business's customer information, especially if it's stored primarily in Google Sheets? When you use and share spreadsheets, you are always risking the theft of sensitive client information. Hackers may even hold it for ransom.
It's easier to lose customer information with spreadsheet use as well. When every line on a spreadsheet is full of information, it's easier than you'd think to delete a row and not even notice, not to mention the disastrous things that can come of customer data in the event of a computer virus. There are plenty of them that leave shared hard drives unrecoverable.
Brand Damage and Online Vandalism
The company image you've spent years perfecting, putting tireless hours into marketing and research, can be destroyed in a matter of days when customer information turns up stolen.
Just like that, your brand is completely ruined, leaving you to make it right and rebuild.
Your website is a significant part of your business, and online vandalism is not a joke. Hackers have every ability to gain access to your website and change a few words or links here and there, which can spell disaster for your business.
Financial damage due to a data breach will not only come in the form of lost revenue. As a result of legal action, you may find yourself paying steep financial penalties depending on the responsible party or in the case of resulting lawsuits.
Spreadsheet Use Despite Obvious Risks
The facts are that most businesses still do and probably will always utilize spreadsheets as their primary BI tool. Spreadsheet use can cause customer data loss, financial setbacks, lack of easily accessible information, data duplication, revenue loss, and possible lawsuits when data isn't appropriately protected.
However, it seems that many businesses are willing to take the risk. Companies everywhere continue to use them; even though they can easily fall into the wrong hands, they hang around long after being advantageous. There always seems to be far too many versions of the same spreadsheet kicking around.
The consistent sharing of the same, albeit updated, spreadsheet between messages and emails can result in data leakage. Not to mention, damage to your business is irreplaceable if you lose your spreadsheet wizard.
This wizard is the techie person on your team that can fix any spreadsheet error, whether human or formula-related. When using spreadsheets as a BI tool, this person becomes irreplaceable, and you're allowing your entire data system to rely on them.
There is a better way.
How DashboardFox Can Help
You can count on DashboardFox to get the job done in taking care of customer data. DashboardFox has everything you need to know when taking extra care of precious customer data that you do not want to spread anywhere, unlike what can happen to your data if you keep using spreadsheets.
First, DashboardFox is self-hosted. We usually put this feature second whenever we do articles like this, but this requires extra importance. One thing that keeps businesses worried is the security of their data, not only theirs but also their customers. When a huge data leak happens, you can expect people to sue businesses for not taking care of their data.
Being self-hosted, there's no need to copy or sync your data with a third-party cloud vendor, which, while large cloud-based BI vendors may have all the security precautions in place, introduces another place for your content to leak.
Second, DashboardFox is built with enterprise security and data governance features included. DashboardFox includes authentication, access, role-based, and data-level security controls. With DashboardFox, only a select group of people have access to certain kinds of data, especially those not meant to be seen by anyone outside the said group. You can feel secure that your data can only be seen by the right people, greatly reducing any chances of leaks or spills.
Third, DashboardFox is affordable. Yes, spreadsheets are free, and you can easily make one on your computer thanks to Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, but they are not secure and can easily tamper. You get all the security and other features you usually see in premium versions of other BI tools with only a one-time fee. With no subscriptions at all, you can depend on DashboardFox to do the rest for you.
Lastly, when you use DashboardFox, you get 1-year of our priority support. We essentially become a virtual extension for your BI needs. That's right: our team of experts is always happy to help you with DashboardFox needs, whether it is collecting data or presenting it in dashboard setups.
While we offer professional services if you wish to outsource or have us do turnkey implementations, our assistance to succeeding with DashboardFox is included for the first year with your one-time fee.
Experience VIP customer service like no other for a fraction of the cost.
We know you are slowly getting convinced, so here's another one to seal it: book a live demo for free and see what we can bring to your company. We'll be waiting!