Process automation Excel

Beyond Excel: How to streamline your tedious spreadsheets

Posted by David Smetana on December 1, 2020
Graph of data in Excel

Excel is at the heart of many business's data operations; it's the old faithful. But, while it's undisputedly a brilliant data processing tool, many organisations still choose to use it completely manually.

Of course, by handling repetitive tasks manually, your business wastes precious resources. Think of the more important tasks your business and data teams could focus on, or the potential errors they could cause by collecting, syncing and acting on data manually.

To keep the familiarity of Excel and streamline your business processes, you should consider adopting simple process automation through a connectable tool.

With that in mind, here are three ways you can streamline your (once) tedious Excel spreadsheets.

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1. Automate data entry and delivery

Data entry is a necessary evil. There's no denying that it can be a burden on your team but, without it, you'd lose track of vital information.

Fortunately, there's an easier way to collect and share data findings.

Using an extremely simple workflow in an app - such as Microsoft 365's Power Automate - can simplify the data entry process altogether. By triggering a flow and asking your employees to input various sets of data (such as ID, name, or address), you can quickly add a row into your desired Excel spreadsheet and update it instantaneously. It takes seconds.

In addition to this, you can also create a quick instant flow, based on conditions, to email the data to various people within your organisation. For instance, if a sales entry value is above a certain amount, the workflow could trigger an email update to your sales team.

If you're interested, we found a brilliant video on the full process here.

2. Streamline approval requests

Tired of spending time on repetitive tasks that offer little value?

Through a simple Excel connector, your business can partially-automate tedious spreadsheet tasks, such as approval requests. Ultimately, this can give the gift of time back to your teams and ensure no important requests fall through the cracks.

Once again, it's as simple as building a short workflow. Through Power Automate, for example, you can set up a flow that triggers an automatic 'approval request' based on certain Excel spreadsheet field conditions. For instance, if a user fills out a 'Requires approval' field with 'yes', an email will be sent to the appropriate party for approval or rejection.

From here, all requests live within an approval centre, ready to be actioned. It really is as easy as that.

3. Create canvas apps

What if we said you could make simple (but intuitive) applications out of almost any Excel spreadsheet?

With a simplistic application tool, such as Microsoft Power Apps, you can translate many of your tables into time-saving business apps that allow you to search through records, schedules or, well, anything with ease. This reduces the strain of searching through large, detailed spreadsheets.

Of course, it's a completely blank canvas; you're free to design your applications in a way that aids your unique business needs.

Empower your Excel processes

Excel is here to stay - that much is clear.

But, when it comes to actioning repetitive or burdensome tasks, there's no reason to waste your team's time.

By partially automating certain jobs through connectable workflows or applications, you can effectively:

  • Boost productivity
  • Keep your Excel spreadsheets updated
  • Ensure important information and tasks are shared automatically to the people who need them

It's the Excel you know, just better.

Want to know more about Power Automate and Power Apps? Get in touch with us today - we'd love to share our findings so far.

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