When PEAK 15 started almost exactly fifteen years ago, we were amazed at how dependent tour operators of all sizes were on Microsoft Excel software. Many had #macgyvered the heck of out Excel to make it do some really creative things. Kind of like this guy did by taking a perfectly good tool (a hand held flash light) and trying to make it serve a purpose it was never intended for:
Excel is an amazing tool in part because it is so cheap and so flexible you could in theory make it do almost anything. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, right? Now, Excel is a good place to start in many cases, so you just need to recognize when you’ve outgrown it and should consider upgrading to a purpose-built system like PEAK 15. Here are the top 6 that we’ve picked up from customers over the years:
- “Hey Sue, can you email me your latest version of that excel spreadsheet?”
Sure, you can save excel spreadsheets to a network drive or cloud drive or use Google Sheets, but this is a sign that your organization is growing and different people need real time access to the same information.
- “Darn it. Someone broke the formula and these numbers are totally wrong.”
We’ve heard some horror stories on these theme. Many companies use Excel as their primary budgeting/pricing tool, so errors in formulas or someone tweaking a formula and not realizing how it connects to other things can lead to lost sales if you overprice or, even worse, a sale where you underpriced and lost a lot of money.
- “Excuse me, IT person, can you link this Excel sheet up to <insert other data source here>?”
Common examples of other data sources include information on suppliers or vendors such as descriptions/images/business terms, contracted rates for services from suppliers, counts of guests who traveled on a departure and how much they were invoiced, or how much you actually paid vendors. If you are lucky to have access to a good and inexpensive IT person they might be able to do it, but this is a sure sign you are trying to use excel for something you shouldn’t.
- “Gosh. Wouldn’t it be so helpful if this excel spreadsheet could send me an email when x, y or z happens or doesn’t happen?”
When information is stored in a structured way in a real system, it opens up so many opportunities to automate things that will save you time. But good luck getting your Excel sheet to do that.
- “Dear Microsoft support – is there some way to bulk edit multiple Excel spreadsheets at once?”
Another classic. If each tour budget is its own spreadsheet and you realize you need to change a formula or update a value across multiple files you are out of luck. Get ready for the joy of making the same change over and over and over again.
- “I need to send a beautiful looking itinerary via Word. Do I really have to enter the same information twice and manually keep them in sync?”
Indeed, Word ranks right up there with Excel as software that is inexpensive and really flexible but doesn’t easily connect to anything – including it’s cousin Excel.
If you’ve heard one or more of these in your organization, then contact us and we will guide you through a detailed assessment of your situation and how PEAK 15 can take you to the next level.