Typical MS Excel Application Lifecycle

MS Excel provides many powerful tools to design, manage, and analyze business data.  Excel is also an easy, inexpensive way to prototype new business applications.  All too often however, MS Excel spreadsheets that are useful to a the power-user that built it start to get used by more and more people, the spreadsheet grows in features and complexity, and gets copied, modified and emailed around.  Before you know it, the effort to support the MS Excel application starts to exceed the business benefits!
When you reach the point when your MS Excel application is out of control, it is time to convert your Excel database application to a relational SQL Server database application.  This will eliminate all of the multi-user issues, provide reliable and repeatable business functions, and improve the quality and consistency of the underlying data.

Convert Excel to SQL Server

Converting Excel to a MS SQL Server database provides a far more structured, more repeatable approach for business critical processes. Excel spreadsheets provide infinite flexibility, but at the cost of bad data, and the cost of managing a distributed application that is intended for just one or a few users.  SQL Server database supports well-structured data, and repeatable, high quality data and workflow processes, with unlimited number of concurrent End Users. The good news is that PCA can import data from Excel spreadsheets to MS SQL Server, and make your Excel Application more structured, while preserving the original functional integrity of the original MS Excel spreadsheet.

MS Excel

SQL Server

Workflow None (Email) Process-flow defined
Concurrent Updates No (Single User) Yes (Multiple, concurrent Users)
Security One password fits all Role-based privileges
Version Issues High (file data stamp) None
Audit-ability Low (date and email comparisons) High (full audit trail)
Data Integrity Low (somewhat constrained) Highly constrained
Data Capacity Limited Unlimited
Data Structures Flat: 2-dimensions Relational: 3-dimensions

Using Excel With SQL Server

Once Excel has been converted to a SQL Server Database, the data can still be viewed, exported, and analyzed in MS Excel!  All of the data input, equations, and data manipulation becomes part of a structured, well- defined database application, which provides for improved data entry consistency, improved versioning as new capabilities get added, and generally easier, more straightforward user interfaces.  Best of all, the data can be controlled and made available through secure role-based security over the Internet.