Excel and The Single Source of Truth
Updated: Aug 3
SCENE: A busy office somewhere in the Preston area. Many staff members are busy recording chargeable work for their customers to later be billed by the account dept.
A while back we built a self-service platform for a client such that their customers could purchase their digital products online without having to call into the office. They could fill out the details online, pay on their credit card (or on account) and off they go. Perfect.
But what happened when the customer started offering other products that the platform didn't yet offer.
ENTER STAGE LEFT: Microsoft Word and Excel.
That's right, customers would download a Word document to complete, email it into the office where it would be picked up and processed by one of the team who would take credit card payment, then make a note of the transaction on an Excel document to be sent to and later processed by the accounts department.
You see where this is going, right?
People weren't always recording the transactions after taking payment, so payments would be unreconcilable. And of course, in true "let's use Office"
fashion, staff started making copies of the central Excel document and updating that! This meant that data was not centralised, sometimes lost and caused a lot of work to handle!
We see a number of common issues with using Excel for recording mission critical information:
people are locked out of centrally stored files,
people make copies of the files and update them,
local copies get lost so data is lost forever
This needed a single source of truth. One that was accessible to many users at once, wherever they were working.
Whilst the "proper" solution was to digitise the full process, including removal of the Word document, we hit the root of the data issue hard and fast, by implementing an area in the platform where staff could record the "manual transaction" and automatically take payment and invoice the customer. Bosh
Just another Classic Marimosa Adventure where we saved a client time, money and made their data more reliable.
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Director and CEO