In today's world, every business has to store their information somewhere. Given the adoption of new technologies and digital transformation, the location is likely to be online. But with so many options, how do you make the right decision? What is the most useful solution for managing data? A spreadsheet, or perhaps a database? We'll tell you everything you need to know about making the decision between a spreadsheet vs database to manage your data most effectively.
What Is a Spreadsheet?
A spreadsheet is a file made up of cells or, more specifically, rows and columns. Its purpose is to store and organize data. Spreadsheets can also help arrange the data while performing various mathematical calculations. What makes spreadsheets so unique are the diverse operations you can use on singular or multiple cells. For instance, summing the value of a specific range of cells, rows, etc.
Spreadsheets are commonly used to manage smaller sets of data (hundreds or thousands of inputs). It’s not impossible to work with bigger data groups, but as the size of your data set increases, the functionality of your spreadsheet plummets, potentially leading to data loss or difficult navigation. If you are currently finding yourself in this position, take a look at 5 Excel alternatives for your growing business.
Some of the most common spreadsheets are Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel. Over time, spreadsheets have become the most popular way of storing data. The particular reason for this is due to the ease of use, simplicity, and accessibility.
What Is a Database?
We encounter databases in everyday life, sometimes without even realizing it. At its core, a database is a collection of information that is organized in a way that allows it to be easily searched, accessed, and updated. Databases can take many forms, and allow users to easily analyze and update their data.
One type of database that has become increasingly popular in recent years is the online database. An online database is a web-based tool that allows users to store, organize, and manage data from anywhere with an internet connection. With an online database, multiple users can access and update the same data at the same time, making collaboration and data sharing much easier.
What Are the Differences Between a Spreadsheet and a Database?
- You can share spreadsheets amongst a group of people. Even though they are not meant to be manipulated by multiple people, they can be shared for smaller projects.
- Spreadsheets are beginner-friendly. No matter how much experience you have (or none), it's simple to learn how to use spreadsheets.
- Spreadsheets are very flexible. If you decide through your project that you want to change certain things - it is very simple to do so.
- Databases allow you to store, organize, and manage your data in a structured way, which helps to improve data accuracy and reduce errors. With a database, you can set rules and constraints to ensure that data is entered correctly and consistently.
- Databases offer more robust security features than other data storage methods, such as spreadsheets or paper files. With a database, you can control who has access to your data and set different levels of permissions to ensure that sensitive information is kept secure.
- Databases can help to streamline workflows and reduce manual data entry, which can save time and increase productivity. With a database, you can automate repetitive tasks and generate reports quickly and easily.
- With an online database, multiple users can access and update the same data at the same time, which makes collaboration and data sharing much easier. This can help to improve communication and decision-making within your organization.
- Databases are highly scalable, which means that they can grow and evolve as your business needs change. You can easily add new data fields, create new tables, or customize your database to meet your evolving needs. Overall, using a database to manage your data can help to improve data accuracy, security, productivity, and collaboration, while also providing the flexibility to adapt to changing business needs.
Is It Time to Upgrade Your Spreadsheet to a Database?
The answer to this question is - it depends. How large is your set of data? Are you going to have to visualize, analyze, and collaborate on your data? I would start by asking yourself some of the following questions.
- Identify your data management needs: Before you start building your database, it's important to identify your data management needs. Think about what data you need to store, how you need to organize it, and who will be using the database. This will help you to determine what features and functionality your database needs to have.
- Choose the right database platform: There are many different database platforms available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Consider factors such as ease of use, scalability, and cost when choosing a database platform. For example, Kohezion is an online database platform.
- Plan your data structure: When designing your database, it's important to plan your data structure carefully. This includes identifying the tables you will need, the relationships between them, and the fields that will be included in each table. A well-designed data structure will help to ensure that your database is efficient and easy to use.
Here is how Kohezion works:
Upgrading your spreadsheet to a database can be a great way to improve your data management and streamline your workflows. If you're considering other options, but don't know where to get started, contact us to book a free consultation. We'd love to hear more about the projects you have on the go!